Sunday, July 29, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

"I hate the Olympics" is about as popular a sentiment as "I hate Christmas".  I get disappointing looks from friends and family when I express my views. "Must you be so cynical D?  It's the Olympics after all."  Precisely! I resent being made to feel nostalgic for an event that's become a corporate sponsorship orgy masked as a peaceful union of nations all in the name of wholesome sport.  Here are some of the reasons I hate the Olympics:

1) hypocrisy - on so many levels
The Olympics is about making money period. -- corporate sponsors, elite athletes, the IOC.  The whole world is watching, so let's exploit the crap out of this baby.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the US and yet McDonald's and Coke are the leading Olympic sponsors.  The irony is unbelievable.
Nationalism is another falsehood. I'm somehow supposed to feel patriotism if an athlete from my country medals. Some of the reasons I am a proud Canadian: public health care, multiculturalism, gun control, the CBC, campaign finance reform, natural resource conservation. Not taking pride in an athlete's performance-enhanced win, in a made up event I know nothing about. Sure I enjoy marvelling at other people's talent and hard work -- it's remarkable what the human body can achieve.  It's just SO overblown.

2) wasteful - thousands of public servants have been laid off in the UK, yet there was still enough money to host the world. Surely $14.5 billion can be better spent -- world hunger comes to mind.  If governments sponsored sports at the grass roots, more children would get to participate, which would improve public health.  Is that not the point of honouring sport?

3) deification of sport - Olympians are not heroes.  Humanity is not better off because of their sacrifice.  Certainly their talent and dedication should be admired, but again, their achievement is completely inflated.  I don't swoon over movie stars, so for me this is no different.  Perhaps what's missing is a balance.  Let's appreciate humanitarians, philantropists, scientists.  I guess it's the deep-seated American-esque desire to idolize that burns me.

4) unfairness - the countries that do the best are those who spend the most money on their athletes -- the best facilities, trainers, programs.  The US and China will bring home the most medals so why pretend that this is a fair competition?

5) drug testing - why bother?  So much time and money is spent on testing and finding new ways to not get caught.  For certain sports, it's a given.  There's no place for moral judgments, so just call it a competitive advantage and let anything go. 

There are so many other reasons to hate the Olympics (e.g. relocation of the homeless, police state, brand bans, etc.).  I'd much rather the IOC be honest about the true force$ behind the Olympics.  Hypocrisy is the one thing that really turns my stomach.  Sad thing about this, is that I LIKE sports, especially participating in them. Being active, feeling your body move, developing skills and confidence, achieving goals, team work ... all made possible through sport.  Too bad the Olympics kills the joy. Here's hoping I can bite my tongue long enough to let my friends and family enjoy the games and just get outside and swim, bike and run.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Riding the wave of depression

Every once in a while I get really down on my life.  Everything seems hopeless and all I want is to escape.  But there is no escape, not without serious life-altering consequences.  And franckly it's not just about me anymore.  Plus, no matter what you think you are escaping from, it's still always with you.  Because really my problems will always be in my head.  It's nobody else's fault but my own. 
Thankfully I know that when I feel like I'm on the brink of fleeing, it's just temporary -- I'm at the lowest low of my emotional wave.  Tomorrow is always brighter.  And indeed as I type this today, I can say that it has passed.  I got my little escape from reality last night and I am grateful for it.  Of course my mood has a profound effect on my loved ones who can't understand why Mommy never smiles or why she's so cold to Papa.  This I have to work at.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Alone time

One week of vacation with my adoring family and I can't wait to get back to work tomorrow.  No, it's not the work I miss.  It's the time ALONE on my bike commute that I'm really looking forward to.  I just need some space to breathe.  I love my family dearly and we had a near perfect vacation.  Every one's emotional bank account is brimming.  I feel at the top of my parenting game right now having just tucked my three cherubs into bed.  And yet I am so looking forward to being free. We were all together every minute of every day for eight days.  That's a lot.  I was never one for appreciating privacy.  And it's not like I meditate when alone -- my mind is rarely quiet.  I just like the silence.  When you are alone you can do as you please without interruptions or comments from the peanut gallery.  It's just nice.  And I'm really grateful for it.