Friday Potpourri Vol. 16
I am starting this a half an hour before Friday officially starts.
I have managed to get into a couple of Twitter arguments this week about the Olympics. You know I try to avoid that sort of thing on Twitter. 140 characters isn’t usually enough to make a point without just going to some sort of snarky slapdown.
The problem started with a runner named Lolo. She was predicted to win gold in her event. Magazine covers and the usual fawning bio by NBC were done to a fare-thee-well. Problem is she came in fourth. Fourth is not something to be ashamed of, but you don’t get a medal for it either.
The hype machine is then faced with a dilemma. Drop her, which is an admission that they backed the wrong person, or, keep promoting her and hope that no one notices the difference after a while.
I couldn’t resist sticking my nose into a thread that was arguing just these points.
My thought was,”I didn’t get a medal either. Will I get a limo to the Today show or a Wheaties box first?”
I was told that I had no idea how hard she had worked. And aspersions were cast about my own physical fitness. Ouch.
My point was and still is, if you want to keep supporting her, fine, just don’t forget about the three medalists that came in before her.
Actually I have a bigger problem with the whole thing.
We tell kids to work hard and maybe they can be in the Olympics or professional athletes. Bela Karolyi was screaming at the screen, telling little girls to “Run to the gym. Be like this kiddo.” after the Gabby Douglas gold medal performance.
I have coached young kids and watched them slowly come to the realization that the dream they have isn’t going to work out. It can be heartbreaking to see.
But let’s say you have beaten the odds. You have just won a Olympic medal in an event you have worked very hard for. Certainly you expect the cameras and adulation to follow. You look around and everyone is with the fourth place finisher. You wake up the next day and the fourth place girl is on the Today show whining about how unfair her life is. You look at the medal that you slept with, such was your excitement. But things feel strange. That feeling is what happens when you get in the way of the hype machine. It will run you over to continue on its way.
In music news, Ken (@lahikmajoe) is trying to turn Hank Williams songs into polka numbers. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry was the song in question. I haven’t been able to get the potential sound of that out of my head, so I decided to pass it along here. You are welcome.
In the weather news, we finally got some rain last weekend. Unfortunately we got a lot of wind with it. Did you know that two months of no rain can turn the inside of a tree into toothpicks? When the big wind comes, the trees snap. We lost the middle section of the tree in our front yard. It took two trips to the dump to get rid of all the debris. Some neighbors thought the garbage men would this stuff up. But whoever worked out the contract for garbage pickup did a wonderful job of easing the burden for the guys. Two cans per household and that is it. No extra. Not a bag and certainly no tree debris.
Thing is, I like going to the dump. When we were in Fort Wayne, I had occasion to go quite a bit, mostly landscaping. Sometimes just clearing the garage of crap we no longer needed. My son and I liked the challenge of filling the back of the pickup so that nothing would fall out. Some people would just strap the load down. Not us. That was the easy way. We approached it like a reverse form of Jenga.
Well, let’s leave it here for now.
I used to love to go to the dump with my dad. It was like a father-daughter adventure. I always wanted to look at the cool stuff, and he would always have to say NO AMY. STAY IN THE TRUCK. THAT STUFF IS FILTHY.
I think they’re making such a big deal out of these kids when they lose. “This one CRIED!” “That one looked MAD!” Most of them are pretty young. They’re all emotional, they worked so hard for this, of course they’re going to look upset. I feel bad for them. (And I agree, we need to make a bigger deal out of the winners!)
I really like the name Lolo. It makes me smile.
When I told my son about going to the dump the following day, he didn’t say anything. But when I started to move the debris, he came out and jumped right in. And started to talk about the other times we had done this. It’s nice, as a parent, when the memories you are hoping to create seem to stick.
The sad truth is that not all our dreams come true. Sometimes, even if we work really hard, we don’t win. It’s a lesson we all have to learn. And I know: it’s not fair. Life isn’t fair. I’d blame films and television for tricking us into believing it should be, but have an inkling it’s deeper than that – a sort of biological need for fairness that blinds us from the truth.
It is a numbers game to some extent. If a million kids take up gymnastics, and only five can be on the Olympic team, disappointment will reign. The balance between reality and dreams is a very tough one.