The Olympics are wearing me out. Honestly, I don?t know if I can withstand the pressure much longer. It?s not the competition. How could it be? It?s the summer Olympics and I?m Canadian. Every time they interview a Canuck after their event they shrug and say something to the effect of, ?Well let?s be honest. I had about as much chance of scoring a medal as spotting a live beaver skipping rope in Tiananmen Square, eh??
One Canadian athlete actually shrugged when asked about her race and said, ?Whatever.? I swear to God, that?s what she said. I don?t mind the uncompetitive attitude, even though it seems a little odd given that it?s the Olympics and all. Truth is, competitive people scare me. That?s why I participate in sports like hiking, trail riding and garage sales instead. And even garage sales have become a little too competitive for my liking. But I digress.
Competitive people also make me kind of sad. I feel awful for the ones who overcame great adversity, or were considered ?a sure win? only to watch them turn human, falter and fall in the seconds that matter most. All those hours of training! All those hopes and dreams! For what? When they stumble off in tears my heart aches for them.
But it?s not sympathy for the loser that has worn me down. It?s the organizing of the Olympics. All that planning! All those details! Billions and zillions of nit picky details. I swear, by the time the opening ceremonies were over I was practically sucking a paper bag just thinking about it all. And it?s only got worse since.
Like those crisp white dresses with the blue piping that the hostesses wear. Who irons them? What if they run out of starch and the collars sag? And what if an athlete, while doing that shaking, jittery thing on the pool deck, slips, falls on his face and sustains a bloody nose? Then what if he somehow gets blood on a passing hostess?s crisp white dress? Do they have extras? How many? And how far away will they have to go to get one? Will the hostess be able to make it back in time for the medal presentation? And what if they miscalculate and run out of flowers to hand out? Or mistakenly put two bronze and a silver medal on the medal tray, instead of gold, silver and a bronze? Let?s face it, bronze and gold look pretty similar, it could happen.
And after the diving competition, when the people go over and shower while waiting for the scores, do you suppose they put a new bar of soap out for each person? How does that work? You wouldn?t want to rub a bar of soap all over you that had just been rubbed all over another person, would you? But putting a fresh bar out every time seems pretty wasteful. Do they keep track of each person?s soap bar and then put it back when it?s their turn to dive again? How would they keep track? And what if they drop the bar of soap and no one notices? Soap is slippery. Way worse than a banana peel. Someone could break a leg or crack open their head and then what would become of their Olympic dreams? Is someone a designated soap bar spotter? And what if someone from an obscure little country accidentally wins and they don?t have their anthem? Or their flag?
The sport aspect of the Olympics is easy. Swim the fastest and you win. Lift the most weights and you win. Jump the highest and you win. Of course, if you jump the highest and you?re event is rowing, well, then you don?t win. Then you?re just silly.
But the organizing aspect of the Olympics gives me a brain cramp. How many packets of hoisin sauce will they need? How many rolls of toilet paper? What happens if they run out of yellow rain jackets?
I don?t think it?s the athletes that deserve a medal. Put the organizers on the podium instead.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can visit her online at www.shannonmckinnon.com