Vancouver: Just Enjoy the Sequins!

The Winter Olympics are awesome. All the cynics who are too cool to enjoy them and, more importantly, to let others enjoy them, can go jump in a lake, — preferably a freezing one with a hungry polar bear in it.

We aren’t stupid enough to think that the Olympics will bring about world peace, because it won’t. If anything, the Games are just a showcase for nationalism and jingoism.

The medal count obsession can also seem pointless, and the announcers, with a few exceptions, are full of crap.

There is plenty to say about the racial makeup of the Winter Olympics. There is plenty to say about how much money the host country tends to lose.  The way female competitors are rewarded more for looks than athleticism also invites comment. All the things that are wrong with the Olympics could spawn many a graduate dissertation.

But the Olympics, warts and all, are still great fun to watch.

Where else can you see beefy Russian men in Lycra onesies yelling “DAAA” at the top of their lungs before hurling themselves at 90 miles an hour down the bobsledding course?

Where else does sweeping ice with a plastic broom count as sport instead of janitorial duty?

Most of all, where else can you watch so many people spending so much time and effort for the love of sports?

Normally, the athletes that we see at primetime on network television are megastars who are rewarded with millions of dollars for their athletic prowess and smothered with public adulations. The Tigers and Kobes of the world are not what the Olympics are about.

There are a few notable exceptions. Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn are the first to come to mind.  They will no doubt be able to parlay their medals into an endorsement deal and a stint on “Dancing with the Stars.” But the majority of the Vancouver Olympics’ approximately 5,000 competitors will never make it on the cover of Sports Illustrated or mint lucrative deals with multinational companies.

The nine-to-fivers who pursue Olympic dreams while supporting families and paying mortgages by working at Home Depot are the real reason why you should watch the Olympics.

The athletes who train everyday and show up even when they haven’t got even the tiniest chance of making it onto the podium are why you should watch.

Where else but at the Olympics will obscure dedication be celebrated in front of billions?

Yes, it’s sappy, but sometimes life is sappy.

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