Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Olympics: Rebecca learns a valuable lesson

I was going to write a post about my feelings about the Olympics, but then I decided against it. If I had written it, it would have gone approximately like this:

"The 2010 Winter Olympics have begun, and once again I am not paying attention. I consider it impressive that I even knew ahead of time that they were beginning--I didn't know about the Bejing games until a tv at the gym with a million drummers drumming caught my eye. The only Olympic event I can ever remember watching was the 2004 men's hockey finals, and that day I volunteered to take the chair facing away from the tv, since I wouldn't have paid attention anyway. It's not like I hate the Olympics, I just am a very non-sporty person from a non-sporty background. I don't know the names of any of the athletes, nor even the rules to most of the sports, and nor do I care to know. It just seems like a huge amount of energy and time and tonnes of money goes into this event for a tiny group of people to participate in, having nothing to do with life in this country as a whole, and I'm a bit uncomfortable with that."

The reason I did not write that post is that another post occurred to me, one which I'd never write, but I better countless others have done variations on. It goes like this:

"I was walking through the bookstore on my way to the movies, not paying any attention to the books on the shelves. I consider it impressive that I even knew where the bookstore was--I only found it as a shortcut to the theatre. The only literary reading I can remember ever attending, I just stared answered emails on my Blackberry the whole time, since I wouldn't have paid attention anyway. It's not like I hate books, I'm just a very non-literary person from a non-literary background. I don't know the names of any authors nor what a sonnet is, and nor do I care to know. It seems to me that a huge amount of energy and time and tonnes of money goes towards publishing these things for a tiny group of people to read, having nothing to do with life in this country as a whole, and I'm a bit uncomfortable with that."

If the second post must be false--just because some people don't care about literature doesn't mean literature is a waste of time--then likely the first is, too. I remain unconverted, but more supportive, perhaps, of those who strive to be the best at something I don't care about. It's a good thing I'm not the arbiter of anything. To paraphrase Beatrice Hall a bit, "I am not interested in what the athletes are doing, but I will defend their right to do it" (maybe not until the death; also, did you know that the original line is not Voltaire).

This whole thought process has been illuminating. Who knows who I'll empathize with tomorrow?
RR

6 comments:

Ransermo said...

Someone once told me, or perhaps I read it somewhere, that sport is art done in time and space.

amy jones said...

Nothing has taught me more about human emotion than being a sports fan! Watch the look on Jenn Heil's face as she waits for her rival's score in the women's mogul finals. I wish I could write something that raw.

amy jones said...

PS - There was no Winter Olympics in 2004!

Mark Sampson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca Rosenblum said...

Scott, that's pretty good! I might use that!

Amy, uh, I don't know what I'm talking about then. Maybe it was 2002? I suppose it might also have been the women's team! I can't really be trusted on these matters!

Careygrrl said...

Great post, Rebecca! I am firmly in Hall's camp on this one. For further evidence of the parallels between athletes and artists, check out the lovely Priscila Uppal's work for the Canadian Athlete's Fund (http://robmclennan.blogspot.com/2010/02/fwd-priscila-uppal-at-vancouver.html). Athletes living out of cars, taking out lines of credit to go compete - sounds like something a writer would do (unfortunately).