Tuesday, June 26, 2012

They’re going to have the Olympics this year, right?

Maybe I’m in my own zone. Or maybe I’m out of touch with the rest of the world. But I feel like I should be overwhelmed by something. And I barely know that something exists.


The 2012 Olympics start in just over a month and I feel like I’ve barely heard anything about it. 

Sure, there have been a couple stories in the sports pages here and there about teams qualifying, but hardly the bombardment I would expect.


It seems to me that prior to the last summer Olympics NBC was promoting the upcoming games the previous summer. In fact, I recall getting sick of the Olympics prior to them even beginning.


I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the summer Olympics. I much prefer the winter ones. There’s just cooler events in the winter: skiing, skating, hockey, bobsleigh, the luge and ski jumping. I’m even a fan of curling for some reason. In the summer the offerings are running, jumping, wrestling and gymnastics. Oh, and badminton. Yawn.


It’s not like I’ve been waiting for the Olympics and disappointed about the missing ads, but after a lifetime of conditioning, their absence is noted.


It makes me wonder. Is NBC not looking forward to this year’s Olympics? Did they get hate mail last time around and decide to hold off on the bombardment? Is the overwhelming crush of ads coming soon? Should I steer clear of watching NBC? 


Maybe I have been steering clear and just didn’t realize it. Truth be told, I don’t watch too much TV and most of what I do watch, I skip over the commercials, but nonetheless, I still feel like the Olympics should be everywhere and they’re not.


Instead, the presidential election is everywhere. All the time. News. Polls. Scandals. You name it, we’re inundated with the stuff.


Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love politics. It’s what I went to school for. It’s my most-often talked about thing in this column. But I feel lately that I could use a respite from politics. By lately, I mean since the Reagan administration. 


Frankly, I’ll be happy to replace the humdrum of politics with the humdrum of fencing and handball for two weeks. 


My favorite part of the Olympics, actually, is usually the opening ceremonies. The events themselves rarely live up to my expectations. The lighting of the cauldron, however, always seems magical to me. 


The best cauldron lighting I’ve ever seen was in Barcelona in 1992. It was the one where the archer shot the arrow over the cauldron and it caught fire. I have that image embedded deep in my psyche. It’s a good image. Beats the heck out of John Kerry looking like a deranged muppet in the crazy space suit. I have that image burned into my skull, too. 


I’m sure that come late July, we’ll find more iconic Olympic images to remember forever. I’m equally sure that some time between now and November, we’ll get goofy photos of politicians looking stupid.


Personally, I’d prefer more Olympics and less politics — at least for a while — starting now.