At Lauren’s Mom’s farm in eastern Saskatchewan, someone turned on the tube to show the great capture with the new antenna, and there were the Olympic opening ceremonies. “People Of Earth” began Mr. Rogge, and you know, that’s who he was talking to, more or less, which is worth something. We ended up watching quite a bit of Olympic TV then on August 15th went to the Twin Valley Riding Club Rodeo southwest of Esterhazy, so the farm visit was quite sports-intensive. Herewith Olympic remarks and rodeo pics.

Cowboy on bucking bronco
Enlarge to see the flying hat.

People Of Earth · I admit it; I get all choked up watching the Olympic opening ceremony every time, and yes I know about the drugs and corruption and politics and judging chicanery and silly sports, but still. It really is “people of earth” and nobody’s shooting at anybody, and watching the unforced joy on the athletes’ faces, marching in, well you can believe that homo sapiens is not such a bad thing to be part of.

I wonder if we could build a universal peaceful global celebration around anything other than “faster, higher, stronger” with as much oomph and buzz and general pizazz? Nothing wrong with those three things, but how about poetry or debate or guitar solos or computer software or truly great kisses (“softer, wetter, deeper”)? Tough to see the business model though.

Cowboy on bucking cow
He didn’t last.

TV · The CBC’s version of the Olympics sucks considerably less than many other broadcast offerings. Yes, there’s too much heartwarming-life-story time, and too much focus on some Canadian’s struggle to make it into the quarterfinals of synchronized basket-weaving. On the other hand, in a lot of sports we’re pretty well not there, so the CBC is left to focus on Thorpe-vs-Phelps or whatever the other big stories of the day are.

On the other hand, staying with an extended Canadian team event, such as beach volleyball vs. the US or softball vs. Taiwan, is pretty entertaining.

The commercials, though, are really inexcusable; by day two I was ready to barf at a few of ’em, the prices they’re paying for these spots you think they’d invest a few more bucks in making enough different ads to run a new one every day. Definitely PVR territory.

Cowgirl riding the barrels
Cowgirls are harder to photograph than flowers, because they don’t hold still.

Too Much Stuff · One of the CBC guys said something really smart: the Olympics just has too much stuff. There are too many sports, too many events, too many locations, just too much. They could jettison half of it and have a better show and the only hearts broken would be those of the skeet shooters and synchronized swimmers and handball players and their Moms and Dads.

Cowgirl riding the barrels
This girl and her horse had the moves and won the event by over a second.

Nations and Symbols · Watching this stuff with my five-year-old was quite an experience. He’s teaching me how infectious symbology is: he’s figured out that he’s Canadian and he calls any maple leaf a “Canada leaf”. He almost instantly understood that in the beach volleyball, the guys in red shirts with the leaves on them were Canadians (“out of Canada” he says) and the ones in blue were Americans, and cheered excitedly every time a red muscle shirt banged one home (happened a lot, the US guys were having an off day). He got so excited over a Canadian women’s waterpolo goal against the Russians that he upset his mother’s coffee down the front of her shirt, then got himself a sudden unpleasant lesson in life’s priorities when he refused to go for a napkin because he wanted to go on watching.

And you know, this is what I hate most about the Olympics: the medal counts and the national anthems and the flags and all that vapidity. Let ’em march into the Stadium at the opening ceremonies with their flags, it’s colourful and means something, then wouldn’t it be great if they left the bloody flags in the stadium and dropped the the country thing as much as possible until the closing ceremonies. Those flags, if the Olympics means anything it means getting away from all that crap.

The Rodeo · It was extremely sincere. The cowboys and cowgirls looked great in their rodeo duds. The burgers weren’t bad, and there’s way more drama in a skinny unpolished kid up against an irritated unpolished bronco than any badminton semifinal, I can tell you that.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

August 18, 2004
· Sports (4 more)

By .

The opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.