Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goodnight, Vancouver!

What happened?!? I was justing watching my childhood crush, Wayne Gretzsky light the Olympic torch, went to the fridge for a Molson beer and came back to the closing ceremonies. Wow! That was a fast two and a half weeks. And here I am, with half a Molson, wondering how I could have missed so much of the action.

I'll spare you the details of homework wars and basketball tourneys, cheerleading practices and Zumba classes. The truth is, the winter games come at a very busy time of year - WINTER. But since snow and cold weather are pretty much a prerequisite for the events, I guess we'll have to deal.

Despite the busyness and the prime-time into late-night coverage, my family and I were able to enjoy a few highlights together. We watched the amazing first match-up between the US and Canadian hockey teams. The kiddos were forced to go to bed before the final outcome, but were quick to inquire the next morning. They relished in the American glory over pop-tarts and Fruity Pebbles (don't judge me). We also caught the b-roll of the American bobsledder who almost lost his eyesight to a rare disease, but underwent an experimental surgery and was cured - cut to the 4-man bobsled competition as he and his teammates beat out the Germans for the gold by nearly half a second (which is apparently light-years in the world of bobsledding).

We enjoyed some amazing snowboard competitions (although we missed Carrot Top) and skating superstars (missed Johnny Weir our favorite queer). We saw highlights of American favorites Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller and Apolo Ohno. And we witnessed the off-the-hook, oh-no-he-di'int game-tying goal by Zach Parise which sent the men's hockey finals into overtime. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, but it was a showdown for the record books. A highlight from 2010, for sure, eh?

I would be remiss if I did not mention the sadness which happened over the course of the games. Certainly, the death of a Georgian luger prior to opening ceremonies sent a shockwave through Vancouver and the rest of the world. My heart goes out to his family and the tiny country he was there to represent. And I can't stop thinking about the courage of Canadian skater Joannie Rochette who's mother suffered a fatal heart attack while at the games. Four days later, Rochette laced up her skates, performed, and took her place on the podium to accept the bronze medal, no doubt dedicating it to her biggest fan - mom.

Of course, I shall also take this opportunity to comment on a couple of controversial happenings across the border. How about that Scotty Lago, huh? If you got it, flaunt it! Incase you were watching the Disney version of the Olympics and have no idea what I am talking about, google "Lago in racy photos with bronze medal." You'll find it. We'll wait. Aaaand...there you go. And are we really going to shame the Canadian women's hockey team for celebrating on the ice post-medal ceremony with champagne, beers and cigars? Is it really that big of a deal, or is this an image thing? Because I gotta say, I doubt many people are surprised that female hockey players drink brewskys and toke the occassional cigar. Johnny? That would be surprising. Hockey chicks? Not surprising.

If you want to talk controversy, let's discuss the legitimacy of curling as an Olympic sport. I know, I'm just an ignorant American who doesn't understand the European history of curling. That may be true. But in my humble (ignorant) opinion, if curling is worthy of the games, shuffleboard, darts and marbles cannot be far behind. It's pretty much the same game. Get your piece in the middle of the pie. BULLSEYE! Kudos to Team Norway as their pants took the gold on the Project Runway podium.

In closing, let me say this: the heart of an athlete is an incredible thing. Whether it's Rochette's motivation to get on that ice, or Lago's decision to insinuate lewd acts with his bronze medal, we, as the insatiable audience watch in awe. It is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat at it's finest. We swell up with patriotism as Americans take the podium and our anthem is played; we savor our humanity as we root for the underdogs from foreign lands we'll never visit. The Winter Games 2010 are over, but will live on in our hearts. And as training begins for Sochi, 2014, let us all bow our heads and pray for God's blessings on the Jamaican bobsledding team, that they may qualify for 2014, and that Cool Runnings 2 become a reality.