Monday, August 18, 2008

The Olympics are awesome.

Yes, that is an un-small understatement - but, it is true.

Seriously - every four years (well, two - technically) the world joins up for two weeks of celebration, peace and unity via sport.

Whether you are a sports enthusiast or not - there is just something that brings people together to cheer on sports they do not even think are being participated in until these two weeks roll around. Seriously - did I know Canada was a haven for women's wrestlers? Nope. Did I even know that 'Trampoline' was an Olympic sport? Probably not. But, would I actually get choked up if someone from the true north strong and free won a gold medal in Archery and I was able to watch them stand proudly as our flag was raised and our anthem played? You bet your sweet sugar buns I would.

The Olympics represent an ideal - and every act of sportsmanship or patriotism is a manifestation of a belief in simple, pure, united existence. I know, I know - that is as altruistic as things come, but it is true. You do not see players storming the stands to fight with spectators. You do not see bench-clearing brawls. You do not have to worry about contract negotiations, greed, international treaties or even wars - as for two weeks, the world stops and actually enjoys one another - with little regard for race, nationality, or religion.

Even corporations promote the ideal of the Olympics - such as Coke with this ad:

The Olympics are wicked. There is just no other way for it to be said. In a world of advancing technology and increasing self-satisfaction, the Olympics are a celebration of human interaction, bodily sacrifice and physical achievement.

Let's hope it stays that way.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Let's be honest, everyone has 'their thing'. Some guys are into cars, or poker, or chicken wings, or baseball. Some girls are into shoes, or shopping, or reading, or lattes. Whatever 'that thing' is that people consider to be their one vice or their one weakness, I believe everyone has it. college football.

I do not know why exactly college football is my 'thing'. I consider myself to be a relatively cultured man - I read, keep up to date on current events, travel, try different foods, but for some reason, fall is a sacred time of year.

It could be having experienced fall football Saturdays for four years at university - but even before then - there was something about waiting all year, prepping, working, training and practicing for 12 opportunities - 12 shots to win. For the most part, if you are out. No do-overs, no second chances, no regrets.

Be perfect for 12 games and you will earn the chance to play for the title.

Add that to the electricity in college football - legions of fans packing 100,000 person stadiums, decked out in their school's colours, ready to sweat and bleed for their team to beat their rival on the other side of the ball. That sounds a little too cheesy, I know, but there is truth - albeit hyperbolized - in cheese. These games are considered legalized war as these teams are truly manifestations of educational institutions and traditions going to battle. There is something pure in that - somewhere - and perhaps that is why college football is my thing.

I do not play fantasy football, I do not bet on games, I do not follow every stat of every game - yet, I simply cannot get over the amount of importance placed on two teams, two groups of athletes, playing a simple game - yet having so much riding on it - from perfection to history.

The irony is, the college football season has not been kind to my alma mater or team as of late. No, the Fighting Irish of my beloved Notre Dame have had their asses handed to them most weekends the past few years and have not sniffed a bowl win since Charles was still In Charge. Yet, until that ball is snapped, we are undefeated and as much a national championship contender as Southwest Missouri State.

So, it is August - the preview magazines and blogs and online articles are swelling with guesses, analysis and presumptions about how the season will go. The only way to really know is to wait for kickoff - but one thing is certain - weekends are about to get a whole lot more exciting over the next five months.

My 'thing' is back for another season.