The end of the Olympics… (hurrah!)

Yessss! Today is the last of the nonsense…at least for a day or so until they clear out the Olympic lot and move in the Paralympians.

Which leaves me in something of a quandary. Because on diversity grounds, i guess i’d expect the latter to get at least as much cover as the former. While on purely selfish grounds, i just can’t wait until the whole silly thing is over and no longer dominating the airwaves

Period.

Oh, you cynic, Jane! Er, no. That was a comment a friend who i much respect made in general terms a week or so back, sweeping aside the Olympic deniers. As though there were but two positions on the subject.

Full-blooded, honest enthusiasm. Or nasty, snidey snipery. But as i pointed out then, there is a third way and it is one to which i have stuck fairly consistently throughout.

Not cynical, but not impressed either

I don’t like sport. Oh. I’ll partake, happily. I swim. I skate (both ice and inline). I dance. I do yoga. And OK…the last two may not involve competition: but they do involve physical exertion.

Which maybe is one clue to why i’m no fan of the olympics. A few months back i bought a dance “game” for our xBox Kinect. Its fun. It has training sessions, taking you bit by bit through the moves. Then it allows you to put the bits together and do a whole dance in a range of styles…from hip hop to merengue. Yay! Love it.

The boy will happily practice street dance, taught himself (and me!) technique for “shuffling” – and loves the battling element of the former – and will not be seen dead on a floor where zumba is taking place. He eyed up the game. It took him about two minutes to figure out that the software had a “compete” option: and instantly he wanted to challenge me to a dance.

Cause of course: he could do it better than me. I was horrified – and refused. The joy of dance…ice skating, too, lies in the personal. Perfecting style. Knowing that you’ve just accomplished a move that, two weeks before, felt beyond your capability. Its about being the best you can relative to you: not demonstrating some machismic superiority over your fellow human beings.

I don’t like competition. I therefore am more than untouched by all this hysteria about the various swimmers, runner and jumpers who apparently can do something in 0.0something seconds less time than someone else. Wow! I don’t get excited by races. And in so many other bits of life, i just know how pissed off folk would be about this obsession with speed: “honey…i came in 7 seconds flat. That’s a new personal best!”

Quite.

The virtuosity test

But, but …what about the personal skill and virtuosity involved? Which i will agree is something to admire. It feels to me like there is a difference. When a great actor strides the stage or appears on film, their virtuosity, their skill, their technique is directed outward, at the audience, and covers a range of emotional interaction. Ditto singers, musicians, creatives of every ilk.

Whereas runners and the rest, however much personal dedication they put into their efforts, are always inward focused. All their striving is focused on one visible output: to be first.

So no. I’ll be glad when its over. I love to watch individuals striving and overcoming personal struggles: love the Sue Boyle’s of this world not because she won…but because she put to shame an immensity of prejudice and narrow-mindedness in so doing.

I’m not impressed by the fact that even today, BBC Breakfast has been turned into Olympic Special, while BBC News is running almost identical coverage: am left fantasising mischievously about how the viewing public would react if the channels turned the same monotopical obsessivity over to Paris Fashion week in the autumn.

I am watching films. And – sorry, sporting folk – looking forward to tomorrow.

jane xx

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Caroline said,

    Think that there are several of us with similar opinions on this.

    Compete is one of the most obscene words in the English language and it would seem that collaboration one of the least understood.

    Now we have weeks of competition to see who is the least disabled! Why do humans so love to humiliate each other with competition?

  2. 2

    Rebecca Ashling said,

    I am proud to declare that I did not watch the Olympics, preferring to watch “Warehouse 13” and “Bones” on DVD.


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