Sunday, August 24, 2008

But on a quick random note

This is one of the funniest columns on the Olympics I've read in awhile, and also sums up my feeling on the subject.
But Costas is so hot to stir things up that he can't help overstating the entire affair. Like the square football announcers who tsk-tsk endlessly about "showboating" in the end zone like it's the end of modern civilization as we know it, Costas has been trilling about "class" and "classiness" among athletes for decades now, as if it's the pinnacle of human achievement to reach a seemingly impossible goal, and then celebrate by acting like you're waiting for the F-train. What kind of bizarre WASPy mentality suggests that raw emotions should be saved for the most appropriate time and place, and then expressed in the most proper, so-called classy way?

Bolt enjoys joking around with his competitors. One of his shoes was untied when he ran the 100-meter race. His technique is described as sloppy and amateurish. He polished off a bunch of Chicken McNuggets right before the race. He's that kind of a guy. He's 21 years old, for Chrissakes! He became the fastest man on earth by a long shot, breaking his own record, while every other contender huffed and puffed along several feet behind him. How would anyone dare to claim that he owed it to the fans to run even faster, or that he disrespected them by celebrating a little early? What in the world is Costas, space alien from Planet Honky, talking about? Why should Bolt care about class, of all provincial, bourgeois values? What the hell is class, anyway, but some arbitrary code that soulless, high-capitalist professional robots live by?

You know what I like to see in the world's greatest athletes? Exuberance, and joy, and tears. I'd like to see them rip their clothes off and run around the Bird's Nest naked. I'd like to see a guy who's fast enough to beat his competitors then walk slowly across the finish line while grabbing his package. There's your world record right there, motherfrackers. Take that, masters of the corporate-sponsored Olympic universe. I'm just too goddamn fast to heed your mortal concerns.
Heather Havrilesky continues to be the only readable columnist for Salon. Yay!

Anyway, back to school nd the Kafkaesque struggles. I'll be missing the Olympics!


CrackerLilo said...

I loved how Usain Bolt enjoyed his moment. Damn it, the Olympics only come around every 4 years! And it's not like Jamaica's awash in gold medals! My best friend's Jamaican; she loved it crazy. We really didn't see the problem in his "showboating."

This actually mirrors a point I've been trying to make on NASCAR forums. Stay with me. Kyle Busch is the most hated driver this year. He is also, at 23, the winningest driver of the year, with 8 Sprint Cup victories and counting. (This is not a coincidence.) Kyle does things like say his car was junk if he gets second place, sometimes even if he wins. He does exaggerated, stagy bows to the fans and cups his hands to his ears for the boos, and the bows get deeper and stagier as the boos get louder. His last win, he counted out the eight wins on his fingers in front of the boo-birds. It's hilarious! And when he finally gets to Victory Lane, he knows how to celebrate!

Other people consider this obnoxious and say he has no class. Class? In NASCAR? Who the hell goes to NASCAR for class? A couple years ago, one Jimmie Johnson won ten races. I was annoyed, not so much by the wins, but by the way he barely seemed to let the wins register and hardly let himself enjoy them. I wanted to see some swaggering, some attitude, a smirk on his face that said, "Damn, I'm good." It was as Havrilesky wrote--he might as well have been waiting for the F-train in Victory Lane. Bob Costas, had he covered NASCAR, would have loved him to bits, in a seemly and classy way.

Vanessa said...

I just love the phrase "Bob Costas, space alien from Planet Honky."

And if you keep relating insightful stories from the world of NASCAR, you might just get me to watch it!

Just the one time. Lol.