Friday, February 14, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: Winter Olympic Edition

Happy Friday!  Hope you guys had a good week.
Let’s get to it.
1. I Feel Bad for Shaun White.
White in 2008, before his corporate
Snowboarding legend Shaun White went to the Olympics this year to win his third gold medal and to cement his legacy in the sport—if such was actually needed.  For more than a decade, White has been Michael Jordan to a sport full of righteous dudeswhich maybe explains both his dominance in the sport and the fact that his fellow snowboarders don’t seem to like him very much.  Personally, I don’t care what his competitors think; if he’s the only one who cares enough about winning to take the sport seriously and train like an athlete, then he deserves to win.  

Except that he didn’t.  In fact, his entire Olympic experience looks pretty miserable so far.

What I read this week is that the various Olympic snowboarding courses aren’t actually built by snowboarding experts; rather, they are constructed by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) regular ski course contractor.  That and the warm weather in Sochi have combined to make the courses a nightmare for snowboarders, which explains why White pulled out of the Slopestyle competition—and why the Halfpipe course was so bumpy on Tuesday as well.  I don’t know all that much about it, but it looked like a bad scene, mostly because they set the halfpipe too low on the mountain.
I’m guessing that all of it threw White for a loop.  Granted, other competitors weren’t as thrown, and I’m not saying that the competition wasn’t fair, but White cut his hair and went all corporate, he’s done his best to be a model athlete, and bottom line, he’s one of the few who looks like an actual adult out there.  I can respect that.  I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out for him.  Fact is, the guy has a limited time to make as much money from his sport as he can, and I applaud him for not only realizing it but for then taking what steps he can to maximize his impact.
2.  Slopestyle.
Having said the above, I should note that I’ve personally enjoyed everything I’ve seen so far from the Slopestyle course.  Sally and I watched in awe as snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg, a righteous dude if ever there was one, absolutely tore the mountain up on Monday, winning the USA’s first gold of this Olympics.  Then we watched in awe again on Wednesday as America’s Devin Logan won silver in the Women’s Slopestyle Skiing, an event which looked even more awe-inspiring and dangerous than did the snowboarding.

Our girls watched the Slopestyle Skiing with us on Wednesday night, and Hannah was thunderstruck from the moment the competition started.  The girls were not only talented, they were pretty, like great leaping ski-princesses.  It struck a chord with our eldest daughter so strongly that we could almost hear it.  
It’s good for Hannah to have a few sports idols.  Her thing for Taylor Swift is maybe natural, but it can get a little overwhelming at times.  I can use a little variety in my daughter’s hero-worship.
3.  Looking for something to watch?  Olympic Hockey!
Last thing on the Olympics: the event of the weekend is—without doubt—Saturday’s morning’s Men’s Group A match, the USA vs. Russia.  It starts at 7:00 am Eastern on NBC Sports.  
The Women’s quarterfinals are also Saturday morning, starting at 7:30 am Eastern on MSNBC.  I don’t know teams will be in the women’s quarterfinals, but it seems likely to be either the USA or Canada versus one of the Nordic countries.  
Unfortunately, the women’s game is liable to be a blow-out.  It seems like the USA and Canada are the only countries who can field professional-caliber women’s ice hockey teams, but what can you do?  The USA is the only country in the world with both Title IX and a rabid intercollegiate athletic scholarship system, while Canada is our hockey-rabid next door neighbor who’s perfectly willing to export talent to our university system.  Until either that changes or the Chinese and the Russians somehow figure out how to field successful women’s sports leagues, I think women’s hockey is going to continue to be a de facto two-country sport.  We can wish that weren’t the case, but here in America, we’re already doing pretty much all we can to address the issue.
4.  I’ve got 50 Twitter followers.
Can I have cookie?
5.  It’s Valentine’s Day.
Sally’s got to teach a fitness class at one of the local gyms this afternoon, and then I’m going to meet her and the girls in Milford.  After that, we’re going to world’s greatest beer-and-burger joint, Plan B Burgers.  It was her idea!  
Eh, it doesn’t sound overly romantic, I grant you, but we’ll have the kids anyway, and besides that, the place is always a riot.  I’m looking forward to it, and I think that Sally is to, and bottom line, that’s all that matters.
You guys got any plans this weekend?

No comments:

Post a Comment