The honest truth: The Vancouver Olympics have barely registered on my radar. I catch bits here and there, but I haven't watched in a focused way whatsoever, nor do I have even a touch of Olympic Fever. Not this time around.
Meredith Hoffa: I wouldn't want to place blame, but I blame "The Sopranos." I'm now on season five on DVD and am euphorically, disturbingly obsessed, so much so that I start to get the shakes if I don't get to see at least two episodes per night. That's a lot of minutes right there. Plus there's Lost, all my programs on E!, Idol, Grey's (don't judge me!) plus making some time to interact with real live people. Ultimately there are only so many hours in a day is what I'm getting at. So these Olympics have all but fallen by the wayside, which is too bad, because usually I get really into them. One of my best childhood memories, actually, is of one summer Olympics -- '84? - during which I developed the nightly ritual of stripping buck naked and watching the primetime coverage while executing gymnastics moves on a peach-colored, satiny quilt spread out in the TV room.
But this week I've discovered something new about watching the winter Olympics: it's an all or nothing deal. I'm only catching snippets of the telecast in my periphery, and from the outside, my experience of the Olympics is totally different. And by different I mean very bananas indeed.
Don't get me wrong. I admire the athletes for their insane dedication, physical skill and blah blah blah I'm falling asleep this sentence is so boring. But the Olympics are really about getting to know the athletes personally -- their back-stories and heartaches, the rivalries, controversies and comebacks. Only in the context of all this stuff do the physical contests become actual human dramas instead of just a compilation of scores and minutes and seconds.
But since I'm only quasi-involved in these games, all I see is the crazy. You know what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about skating outfits from another time and planet: grown adults in clown outfits, country western outfits, Bo Peep get-ups and aboriginal travesties featuring sprouting foliage. Leaves! I'm also talking largely about the coverage itself: like the NBC posse cranking its Mountain Mode into high gear and outfitting Matt and Al in inexplicably mammoth knot scarves even in the indoor studio as part of its aggressive campaign to make me feel cozy (I do! You did it!). I'm talking about skiers CAREENING OFF MOUNTAINS AND TUMBLING INTO COLD CANADIAN RAVINES, which is so alarming, so very anxiety producing and distressing. Also I'm talking about jazzed up spectators maniacally waving flags and mittened paws at the cameras as if it is their first time out of the house ever. Don't even get me started on the fake sports like sledding.
Maybe I'm just being a cranky, Grinchy jerkhole because I'm on the outside, and while being on the outside has had its entertaining moments, in the end, it's just not nearly as fun as being on the inside and I'm starting to feel left out and like I'm missing a really good party where everyone else is eating cheese together and bonding. In any case, I look forward to next week when people will have recovered from Olympic Fever, when we can shed the adorable furry hats and put out that creepy fire roaring in the hearth - and say good night to Grouse Mountain for the final time.
|Meredith Hoffa's first-person writing has appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine, Fit Pregnancy, Business Traveler, and the new anthology, "Rejected" (Villard/Random House, 2009). She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.|