All of which serves to introduce the topic de jour: the Olympics.
In celebration of the unexpected Greek victory at Marathon and the runner who brought the news before expiring in his tracks, a series of athletic games were annually held near Mt Olympus, reputed home of the Gods and the most notable landmark on the peninsula. These games, long forgotten, were revived in the late Victorian era and have grown into an international event of insane proportions, with ceremonial excesses overshadowing the athletes and nationalism clouding the awards.
And then there is the White Folks Olympics, currently being staged out of Vancouver, B.C. You may have noticed that the snow and ice sports are not notable for their third world participation. The celebrated Jamaican bobsled team is famous due to the rarity of such an entry and there are no medals for the Fijian biathlon team.
The Nordic sports, nearly all of which consist of various ways of sliding down precipitous frozen slopes, are a natural outgrowth of the life experience of folk from the frigid climes. Skating is appropriate to the Dutch, whose countryside is crossed with canals that become major transport routes each winter with the freeze. Ice dancing and figure skating are a bit over the top, but at least they call on the athletes to perfect both their condition and skills. The games pay tribute to the heroic resistance of the Finnish people against the Nazi hordes with the biathlon, a combined skiing and shooting event, and the Scots claim a place in the games for their national favorite, “curling.”
Curling? In this contest teams slide polished granite rocks down icy lanes toward a series of scoring circles. In essence this is shuffleboard on steroids with the added attraction of two manic helpers with brooms who sweep the ice just ahead of he sliding stones to speed the slippage. Neither the helpers nor the launching team member wear skates! Out on the ice they gather to ponder bank shot, angles, etc. and nobody is skating. In fact, many of the curlers (?) are obviously in no shape for athletic activities to begin with. One member of the women’s team was five months pregnant and several of the men were in nearly the same shape.
Sports play too large a role in modern life to begin with but the idiot excesses of the Winter Games wins the gold every time.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.