Friday, February 12, 2010

my olympic view

I don't know why I'm feeling so grouchy about the Olympics. I mean I don't live in Vancouver or near any of the sites, but it's close enough so that my bus & skytrain were more crowded than usual this morning, and that made me grumpy. It also made my bus late because the bus driver had to answer so many questions at every other stop from new passengers who have left their SUVs in their garages to take public transit to get to events. 
At first, I thought these people were tourists who had to find accommodations way out where I live because everything was booked up closer to vancity, but then I realized these are my neighbours. They looked amused by the whole novelty of taking a bus. It would seem that it's a very exciting experience. There was so much noise on the bus from giddy passengers, and people on their cell phones ("I'm going to see the torch! What? I can't hear you?" BTW, if you can't hear the person on the other end of the phone, it doesn't help if you talk louder.)

See, I'm very irascible today. 

My morning radio show has turned into the Olympic broadcasting corporation. I now get Olympic weather, Olympic traffic reports, Olympic entertainment news, and news stories related to all things Olympic.  I can't listen to my morning radio show any more. There's no balance. So I shut it off. 

***
I was glad to hear that the protesters forced the torch to re-route. The protesters voices needed to be heard through the din of "Go Canada Go." Their voices are important! So far I've only heard news reports that talk about how disappointed the children were who lined up to see the torch. How about we get into the problems of massive homeless, mental health issues, and drug addiction of the downtown eastside? These issues also relate to the Olympics, so let's talk about them. With all of the money spent...you know where I'm going. Housing, healthcare, and social programs all need help in this province (as they do everywhere). 


***

Where do I stand? It might seem clear based on what I've written so far. Honestly though? I'm torn. I'm neither pro nor anti Olympics. What I really don't like is the corporate control of the Olympics. There's something about the willingness of people to let VANOC control what we can say or do that really makes me angry, and I find the whole "you're either with us or against us" attitude offensive (I've gotten this from both sides). People seem to want me to be one or the other. Do I have to be? I don't want to be. 

I do appreciate athletic achievement. I enjoy watching many sports. I don't care if Canada wins medals or not, I just like a good competition to be fairly played. I am going to a women's hockey game, and men's cross country skiing, but as a fan of sport, not as a fan of any particular country. I just can't wave the flag like that. I'm not looking forward to the circus of it all, but the events themselves I hope will be good. 

***

I think maybe it's time that the Olympics took some responsibility for what it does around the world (dumping debt on cities). Why can't the Olympics work with the host city (and its corporate sponsors) to resolve local problems instead of trying to sweep them from view? Why not make it a partnership of some kind? Why should the host city be forced into taking on all of the burden, and bending to the will of the Olympics? What if the IOC had to approach cities instead, and ask for their permission to hold their event there? Then they would have to make the deal sweet for the host city. 

It's just a thought.

***






3 comments:

Wandering Coyote said...

Well, you know exactly where I stand on this issue, so I won't bother getting into it here.

That being said, I will be watching some events on TV, and I did watch the opening ceremony last night.

I like curling and short track speed skating too much not to watch!

SME said...

I'm also agnostic on the Olympics. I'm not a big fan, but I don't really oppose the whole thing either. (easy to say when you don't live in or near Vancouver, I suppose. The tourism would drive me insane!)

sp said...

The tourism is a little crazy. Once again I'm grateful to be living far enough away from the mayhem.