Right Before Our Very Eyes…

For the last two weeks we have been treated to unique insights into human nature via the Olympics. In addition to “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” there are all sorts of vignettes that could be applicable to many parts of our society. I love to watch the race or event but I also relish in some of the sidebars. People just being people. Not so much stars but people just like you and me. Human!

On the fields of competition some take it well and others fail miserably. Look I understand what happens when you have trained for years for this very moment and you fall short. You play woulda, coulda, shoulda for hours in your head as you toss and turn at night. But it is not a fatal disease ( for most) and sooner or later you heal. Yet you hurt and you fire back sometimes in not quite the best fashion. Given the state of media you can’t escape the glare and man do you wish you could take back that rant or the international sign of distress in the middle of your hand. Don’t we all.

Ryan Lochte probably showed us at our worst. First he was a drunk superstar.Then he lied to cover his tracks. And then he lied about the lie. And then he couldn’t bring himself to make a full blown apology but equivocated. It is kind of like the Donald on the Khans and Hilary on emails. Oh and can anyone forget when Slick Willy Clnton looked America in the eye and said with a straight face that he did not have sex with that woman? Then on a roll he continued to say, “It depends on what the definition of is is?” You can’t make this stuff up.

The young lady who was the goalie on the American soccer team told us that Sweden cheated or at least did not play to the spirit of the game.Methinks they were just beat by a smarter team. Many of the big names did not show up under the guise of not wanting to get the Zika virus.But there were others for whom this one time chance to compete was not to be so quickly abandoned. They would eventually go back home to oblivion and not multi million dollar contracts. Their future is probably in a factory or office but they had that one moment on stage and that was enough for a lifetime.

Leading up to the games we were exposed to cheating via steroids and other banned substances of all sorts by athletes and even entire nations. There were probably payoffs from top to bottom to get the games in the first place. Of course the officials were shocked and indignant and claimed no knowledge. Very much akin to Volkswagen’s, bank’s and big insurance company’s protestations when they are caught redhanded. We will pay billion dollar fines without admitting any wrongdoing. It is what we do.

I was blown away by the beauty portrayed by the panoramic shots of the Copacabana Beach at various times of the day. The views from Christ the Redeemer and the favelas slums were in stark contrast to one another and then again maybe they weren’t. All God’s children. There we all are, warts and all. The pretty facades being displayed and the rotting innards kept from view. If we all just close our eyes maybe it will all go away.

As I looked at the beach I of course got my water fix of sorts. I couldn’t help but think of the wonderful seascapes Kathy and I have visited over the years.Those waves lap and crash ashore in Brazil just as they do on millions of miles of coastlines throughout the globe. Funny how some are barren and even forlorn while others command astronomical prices as they are home to the swells and fahionistas. The shacks of the Philippines are right up there with the high rises of Monaco or South Beach. The view is still the same. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The closing ceremony was intriguing as the story was told of all the different regions of the host country. The black women in hoop dresses were festive but also a grim reminder that slavery was not just “Made In The USA” but a horrible footnote to the history of the southern hemisphere as well. Yet you couldn’t help but think that this was a world in many ways that we will never get to know. Villages in the Amazon, undiscovered tribes and scenery that would knock you for loop if we ever know how to get there. Most of us will never see it it for its pure beauty and culture. It makes me wonder why we want to go to Mars?

The Olympics are a lot like “America’s Got Talent.” If you ever watch the show you are amazed by people who normally for the want of an audition would never have their incredible talents discovered. Your jaw drops when a singer belts out a soulful ballad or performs a routine that astounds you. Just as you see some unknown from a country you have never heard of break from the pack to stun the foregone winner and roaring crowd. I always love the underdog.

It will be four years until the next summer Olympics. The venues are now locked and shut. The flame is extinguished. The streets won’t be swept anymore. The show is over. There might be a new bus or two but the glitz will fade and people will move on. The locals will have deserved pride and some fat cats will have their wallets well padded. That is not said with a sense of regret but of resignation. For better or worse that is the way the world turns. Just like the Cubs, hope springs eternal but reality keeps biting you in the ass. Such is life.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Some Olympics cost astronomical amounts of money. The 2008 Beijing games cost $44billion but made $1bill in profit. The Sochi winter games cost the Russia over $51 billion and there was no way they made money but you will never know. They are a value or a waste depending on new infrastructure or increased tourism. Either way it is out of control.

Unlike many other countries, the United States federal government doesn’t fund Olympic programs, though some athletes get special funding from their national governing bodies. For example, USA Swimming reportedly provides approximately $3,000 to national team members of its top 16 ranked athletes. But other aspiring athletes are actually unemployed and need to be supported by their families—and some families have even gone bankrupt trying to support their son’s or daughter’s Olympic dreams.The 2016 U.S. Olympic Team was comprised of 558 athletes (264 men, 294 women) in 24 sports.

Brazil has 4,655 miles (7,491 km) of coastline, making it the longest continuous coastline in the world. It is the fifth largest country by landmass and sixth in population at 202 million.The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest, containing one fifth of the world’s freshwater reserves and producing one third of the earth’s oxygen. About 60% of the Amazon lies in Brazil.aThe Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest, containing one fifth of the world’s freshwater reserves and producing one third of the earth’s oxygen. About 60% of the Amazon lies in Brazil.a

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