Painting & Pinot, Olympic Preview
I went to a free painting class last week with my fiancé, La Louve, at a place called Painting and Pinot – and not surprisingly I was one of only two dudes in the entire 30 person class. There are of course a few benefits to being a guy at one of these events, the first being that all of the women are deathly afraid to be the first to dig into the sweet treats, and the second being that you can pretty much just throw paint at the canvass and everyone will still say it’s great. Of course, I didn’t realize till I got home – and my fiancé pointed out – that what I had painted sort of resembled an embarrassing part of the male anatomy. You be the judge:
The Olympics are coming up, and I’m pretty excited. Nowhere are athletes more mixed up. You have gazillionaire basketball icons living in the same Olympic Village with people who work at the Home Depot eight hours a day and still find time to train. (Speaking of the Olympic Village, did anyone read ESPN’s expose of what transpires in the night there? Muy Caliente! Just follow the link if you want some inspiration to make the 2016 Olympic team.)
To be honest, I do not even know all of the bizarre sports that have made their way into the Olympic Games over the decades. I pretty much watch for the basketball, swimming, and track and field. Although this year table tennis, equestrian dressage, judo, and badminton should all have some thrilling moments.
Equestrian dressage as described in Wikipedia: “At the peak of a dressage horse’s gymnastic development, the horse will respond smoothly to a skilled rider’s minimal aids. The rider will be relaxed and appear effort-free while the horse willingly performs the requested movement. Dressage is occasionally referred to as “Horse Ballet“.” Riders also wear top hats, and trousers specifically designed for riding called breeches. My question is who gets the medal? If the horse uses minimal aids shouldn’t they get to stand on the podium?
The most interesting incident thus far is the outrage over the United States Olympic uniforms being made in China – being protested by millions of Americans wearing clothes made in China, sitting at desks made in China, and possibly typing on computers made in China. Face it folks, as the United States has continually shifted towards a higher paying service based economy, other countries have picked up the manufacturing slack by offering companies cheaper workforces, lower material costs, and questionable labor practices. So unless you want to pull out some needle and thread, step back from Facebook, YouTube, or whatever else you are working on, and start sewing, the uniforms are going to be made elsewhere.
Regardless the sport, or where the uniform was made, I always have a sense of pride when the U.S. wins a medal at the Olympic Games – as I’m sure most of us do. In 2008, when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu I would listen to the events on a small, battery operated short wave radio in my powerless hut. Usually, the broadcast focused on Australian dominated sports like rowing, due to our proximity in the region, but occasionally the U.S. would win a medal and I would howl at the stars.
Now that I am back in the United States I will be pulling for us first and Vanuatu second. They have competitors in the Men’s 800, Women’s 100, the aforementioned Judo, and the aforementioned Table Tennis. Thought it was joke before, eh?
So let’s get out there and get it done team USA. And let’s get the ironic Bruce Springsteen song (“Born in the USA”), the obnoxious chant (U-S-A, U-S-A), and national anthem ready to crank (repeatedly please). It’s Olympic time!