Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
I thought I’d start this thing on Valentine’s Day last year where I make a list of things I love, and I only got as far as garlic bread before I gave up.
Then, about a week ago, when I was going back through the ol’ posts looking for something suitable to read at a story night (and as it turned out my name didn’t get drawn so it didn’t matter anyway), I was reminded of my garlic bread post and thought two things:
1. Maybe I can read out this thing on garlic bread at the story night.
2. Maybe I should think of writing another post for Valentine’s Day about something I love.
Well I wisely chose a different post to read out (and then didn’t read, as it turned out) and I couldn’t really come up with anything that I loved. I guess I’m just not that enthused about anything right now.
So I came up with this half-assed thing. Sorry guys, maybe I’ll try harder next year.
1. The Olympics
All right, so we’re sort of at the midpoint of the 2014 Winter Olympics coming to us from 9 hours in the future out of Sochi, Russia.
There’s been nothing but bad press leading up to these games, right? I mean, Russia’s ridiculous anti-gay laws, the ongoing suppression of human rights most recently and publicly demonstrated through the arrest and conviction of Pussy Riot, and of course those saucy Chechens, always poised to blow stuff up.
And then you got the early reports last week from snide western journalists tweeting pics of spartan accommodation, questionable toilets (but come on, maybe it’d be fun to poop next to a friend. maybe us “westerners” don’t know what we are missing) unfinished venues and this horrible report of wild dogs and the concerted effort to KILL them (sorry Jamie, I should have put a spoiler in here). Maybe they are not killing them, maybe they are all going to a farm somewhere where they are being retrained to perform in the first “all dog” version of Chekov’s Uncle Vanya. Because you know, if you introduce a newspaper in the first act, someone’s gotta piddle on that newspaper by the end of the play, am I right? I’m not even going to mention the weirdness of having a “summer seaside resort town” hosting the games with no snow. I mean, it would be like Vancouver hosting them or some damn thing, right?
And then, of course, this had to happen during one of the preliminaries.
So for all of these reasons (and many more than I can’t think of right off the top of my head) many people have decided to boycott these games. I really respect that. I am always happy to see and hear people who feel strongly about something actually do something about it. I’ve heard of boycotts from merely not watching the games, to actually boycotting sponsors of the games like VISA and McDonald’s, to even boycotting the outdoors generally. “Hey man, I thought about going skating, but you know I can’t because: Olympics.”
Even though I agree with the reasons why people are boycotting, (except for the dog thing. Who WOULDN’T want to see an all dog version of Uncle Vanya right?) I just wasn’t feeling any particular motivation to join in with them. In fact, I just hoped that we could all get through this thing without anything horribly bad happening and then we could get on with our lives. Maybe I could boycott by just ignoring the whole thing.
So I watched the opening ceremony, and got the feeling that there was a lot of tension going on behind the scenes. The stadium wasn’t full, and you got the sense that people were smiling with their teeth but not with their eyes, and it all sort of felt sad. But then, the countries started walking in (one of my favourite things about the ceremony, actually. It’s the olympics equivalent of watching the players get introduced at MLB’s All Star Game) and then all of a sudden it was Canada’s turn. I had stayed away from most of the coverage leading up to the Games, so our uniforms were a surprise to me. I felt a sudden and rather unexpected warm rush of pride as I saw this red sea of Hudson’s Bay Company coats march into the stadium. The one black stripe across the bottom was genius. It called out the classic HBC blanket that was a staple of many of our childhoods and a touchstone for what winter means around here. At that moment, I knew I wouldn’t be boycotting these games. I couldn’t. I had to watch them. I was hooked. Despite the 9 hour delay and the busyness of this week, I’ve managed to watch quite a few events (or at least the highlights) and will most likely glue myself to the TV over this upcoming long weekend and into next week. Every time we win a medal, or do something amazing, my heart glows a bit brighter. And considering the long winter we’re having, I’ll take a little warmth wherever I can get it.
So there. Something I love. The Olympics. Despite everything.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Here’s a little pic that a friend posted on Facebook to keep it all in perspective.