Saturday, August 09, 2008

Opening Ceremonies

Every couple of years I get excited over something happening in the sporting world. Okay, occasionally I get excited in between those two years. But I'm specifically talking about the Olympics. I'm not sure what it is about the Olympics. I mean, any given day, I don't care about gymnastics or diving or (in the case of the winter games) skiing. But when some girl on the US gymnastics team vaults over that thing they flip over, America holds its collective breath as she sticks the landing.

Maybe it's national pride. A sense that America can be presented on the world stage, not as a political monster trying to police the world, but as a bunch of kids just playing a game. It's almost innocent. It's also very encouraging that a lot of the time, the US is the gold medal leader at the Olympics. Go USA!

So I was watching the opening ceremonies last night, and a lot of the time I was just thinking, huh? Don't get me wrong, a lot of what they did in Beijing was quite impressive. 2,008 drummers in flawless synchronicity was pretty darn impressive. And the thing where they were walking sideways around the globe? At first I wasn't sure how they were doing that... then I saw the strings. Honestly, at first, I was thinking they had magnetic boots or something... then I saw the strings. I'm such an idiot.

Have you ever sat and watched the entire opening program? About the first hour is a big art show. And then you spend two hours going through every participating nation. That's a lot of nations. I think they said there are 175 taking part in the Olympics this year.

Finally they light the giant torch. They did it by pulling a guy up on wires and having him "run" around the top of the stadium. A couple times I swore I thought his wires were about to break. And then I played the possibility in my head: what if the final torchbearer fell off the wires and crashed into the audience below. How tragic would that be? Do you think they'd call off the games?

Thankfully, he made it all the way to the cauldron and was lowered safely back to the ground. This morning I'm watching volleyball. Team USA is playing Japan. And I'm not sure, but it's looking like Japan is doing really good. In the current game, Japan is winning. Tough game, volleyball.

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