(Almost) each week, Bro Jackson’s deep roster of writers and degenerates tackles a hot-button topic. This week, it’s the Summer Olympics in a tragically odd-numbered year.
At 11 years old it’s hard to grasp how big Atlanta hosting the Olympics was. I was mainly concerned with collecting the pins from each day. My family was lucky enough to get fourth-row seats to Track and Field. I don’t remember any of the events, but what I do remember was trying to be cool like an 11-year-old would when hanging out with his parents in public. I found a picture from that day a few months back and I was wearing a white USA flag shirt, jean shorts, and had a bowl cut. So not only did I fail to embrace the magnitude of the day but also the looking-cool factor. Later in the week my dad scored tickets to synchronized swimming from a guy at work, but I passed on it and he went with my mom. USA won gold and he got to see the flag get raised while the “Star Spangled Banner” played. Another giant regret. The Olympics weren’t a total waste for me, though. My family had tickets to the semifinal game of men’s soccer, it was Brazil vs Nigeria. Nigeria won 4-3. The crowd was loud and international and great. But the defining memory will be 80,000 people doing the Macarena during halftime.
Sidenote: Remember last year when Oscar Pistorius was one of the five biggest stories of the Olympics? Well I was lucky enough to see Dave Chappelle on Monday and he did a 10 minute bit on him. At least Michael Phelps has kept away from the bong this time around.
Guys, sorry, I don’t have time to write a Bro Down this week, I’m leaving it up to my old fraternity brother Joe Murdoch, hope you enjoy it:
The Summer Olympics suck. Sorry, rest of the world, but we’ve got OTHER sports to focus on. We aren’t going to care that some DUDE from your poverty-addled country is the best at pole vaulting. Why don’t they get good at a real sport like FOOTBALL? And not fucking soccer, assholes. FUCKING FOOTBALL. Speaking of that, why isn’t football an Olympic sport? PROBABLY BECAUSE YOU PUSSIES CAN’T PLAY IT. I don’t care about how some FRENCH DUDE is really good at DIVING, that’s not even a real sport, that’s just something that I do while shit-housed on Fireball and Diet Cokes. The only sport that matters is basketball, and America is always going to KICK ASS at BASKETBALL because it’s an AMERICAN SPORT. I mean, duh, the best players in the world are from America. I love basketball, I used to be a Lakers fan for a few years (back when they were good and not STUPID like they were this year), but now I’m ALL ABOUT THE HEAT, THEY ARE THE SHIT. LEBRON. D-WADE. BOSH. BIRDMAN IS SO FUCKING AWESOME I WILL PUNCH YOU IN THE FUCKING DICK IF YOU SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT HIM. I think they should just take the Heat and put them on the USA SQUAD AND WATCH US DESTROY THOSE SHORT INTERNATIONAL MOTHER FUCKERS. USA RULES, I totally care about the Olympics, but only until the preseason starts. My fantasy team is going to rule, I’ve got the coolest team name: AARON MURDERNANDEZ. Here are the Summer Olympic sports that matter:
2) BEACH VOLLEYBALL (HOT BIIIIIIIIIIIIITCHES!!!!!!)
3) CURLING (IS THAT IN THE SUMMER OLYMPICS?)
That’s it. The Summer Olympics suck.
Essentially, I just watch the summer Olympics for the incredible fit and in-shape women that are in it. In the 2012 Summer Olympics Liliana Fernandez single-handedly was the winner with runner Jessica Ennis coming in a close second. I suppose I should watch the shit that I should care about like boxing, but considering the U.S. team only trains for three months as opposed to the years that other nations train, it seems silly and trite. From blowouts in basketball to sports that are only cool when the Olympics are around, I figure the best use of the time is to enjoy the women who worked so hard on their figures.
In 2000 I flew down to Sydney, New South Wales, on a one-way ticket to visit friends and attend the Summer Olympic games. I was only 23 and I was ready to lose my mind. I had studied abroad there three years earlier and now the plan was to take in the games and then travel the country for six months while working along the way. When I arrived it was like a social hurricane. Australians do two things exceptionally well: relay condescension toward Americans and drink. And my friends provided ample amounts of both.
The Opening Ceremonies downtown was like combining Rio Carnivale and the Battle of Gettysburg. And that was but the tip of the iceberg. I should have won a medal for the amount of beer and marijuana and amphetamines and hallucinogens I took during the Games. There was this rumor floating around that they ran out of condoms in the Olympic Village, but I was so wasted while wandering around on the outside that I didn’t take my pants off for a month.
Tickets were outrageously expensive, but I doubted I’d make it out of the city alive, let alone see another Olympics in my lifetime and so I took the ride. My first event was a fencing match between an Italian and a Dutchman. The fans were like hyenas that had been caged aboard a convict ship from England and released into the arena. The whooping and hollering and flag waving frightened me and lights and horns going off when the épée reached its target had me on the edge of my seat even though the event made little sense to me.
I got tickets to the gold medal baseball game and saw Ben Sheets end communism like he was imitating Ronald Reagan. The game lacked the energy of the fencing match, however, because I’m quite certain most of the Australians sitting around me thought it was a warped game of cricket. The highlight of the live events turned out to be a prelim basketball game I attended between France and the United States. I was third row center when Vince Carter posterized that 7-foot center. I hadn’t seen a Frenchman that embarrassed since Waterloo.
Overall the energy and blatant—yet cheerfully optimistic—nationalism of the Games was magnificent to witness. Downtown for the closing ceremonies, a friend and I climbed onto stoplight posts and fell into the crowd. It was absurd and euphoric, a culmination of everything I had observed.
After it was all over, I hitchhiked to Melbourne and caught the Ghan north, stopping along the way to imbibe the Outback, before meeting a van-load of Scots in Alice Springs who I hitched with to Cairns. There I obtained my SCUBA diving certification, worked but three days on a farm before quitting, and peed on a guy’s backpack at a hostel when I was blind drunk. By this time it felt like there wasn’t much more to do or see and I popped down to Byron Bay and spent a month relaxing.
It was there, heading out of the Bay to go for a dive, when we saw two massive white whales heading toward shore. The guides actually hopped in the water to call the coast guard and steer them back out to sea. The word majestic is thrown around a lot these days, but feeling the vibrations of those two beautiful beasts communicating and having them so close to the boat we could nearly touch them, prompted a primal trigger to be pulled inside me, a blunt signal notifying me of my insignificance—and yet the connection we have with everything—a majestic satori only a palmful of hallucinogenic drugs could provide.
Yes, it’s safe to say I enjoyed the Olympics and the aftermath. I’d do it again if I had the chance, but I’m older than Ben Sheets and Vince Carter, so I think I’ll watch tape-delayed events on NBC from now on.
I hate Kerri Strug. Not her specifically,[ref]I’m sure she’s so sweet she would give me a cavity[/ref] but her “moment.” The extent to which her moment has been lionized makes my sphincter clench. Hard.
Let me explain. I was a gymnast and cheerleader growing up. I have sprained many a ligament (mostly in my right hand and foot), strained many a muscle (all over yo), broken many a toe and finger (both hands, both feet, mostly on the pinky ends), dislocated many a kneecap (well, just the two) and sat through classes with many a mild concussion (we called it daydreaming). The vault is a sport such that, if your foot is injured to the point where you can’t land on it, you’re out of the competition. You can’t run hard enough or get the proper spring off of the bounceboard on a foot that you have to land on as gingerly as she made out to. Your brain wants to, but you can’t. You plant and your foot either springs back (if its biological infrastructure is sound) or it sinks (if it’s not). You don’t have that soundness on the takeoff (which Strug did) and lose it by the time you land (which she wants us to think she didn’t). She’s clearly an elite gymnast and an excellent one with a deserving place in USA Gymnastics history, but Kerri Strug’s “moment” in Summer Olympic history is no different than a soccer flop.