bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: I am not watching the Olympics

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Oh, good. It’s Olympics time again. Actually, no, it’s not good. I feel like I should care, but I don’t. Four years ago at this time, I wrote a column about how I don’t like the Olympics, and the passage of time has not changed that opinion much. This time, actually, I have found even more reasons than usual to avoid watching the games, although those are more related to the host country of Russia than they are to the athletic competitions.

This year’s games are being played in Sochi, Russia. I have never been to Russia, despite the fact that nearly all of my ancestors come from there, and I have no immediate plans to go. I may not be getting the full story, but the parts that have made it to my ears and eyes are bad and worse. First, the country passed a law last year banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” Russia has always been anti-gay, but this really institutionalized the bigotry. Gay Pride houses have become commonplace and major sporting events, particularly international ones, but a Russian judge made sure that there would be no such thing at these Olympics, stating that its presence could somehow “undermine the security of Russian society.” Yeah, right. Sounds reasonable.

This week, I read about the city of Sochi and its effort to rid the city of stray dogs in the days leading up to the games by rounding them up and killing them. Revolting. We are talking about thousands of animals being killed to improve the city’s image to the world. First, I can’t fathom that this effort would make any difference whatsoever toward that goal. Second, the reports say that regular citizens have been involved in this cull, not just professionals. What fun! I don’t know about you, but I’d love to hang out with people who kill dogs for fun.

I know the games are the biggest stage for most of these athletes. I know that many of them have trained their whole lives for this, and a boycott would have created great hardship for so many people. If it were left up to me, for some bizarre reason, I don’t know what I would have chosen. I know that the pictures I have seen of Russian president Vladimir Putin watching over the games are enough for me to watch something else on television rather than these Olympics. That is one scary dude. I watched Katy Perry absolutely trash The Beatles’ “Yesterday” a few minutes ago rather than watch whatever was happening in Sochi, so that should tell you where I stand with this thing.

I hope the Americans win a lot of medals and show the world who is the best. I hope great athletes from around the world, yes, even including ones from Russia, shine during this competition for which they have worked so hard. I will read the stories and report on the ones I find compelling. I don’t expect that I will be watching, though. Sorry, Sochi.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Marcus Smart, a star basketball player for Oklahoma State, was suspended for three games after pushing a fan who was seated courtside on Saturday during a game against Texas Tech. Smart fell into the crowd while trying to make a play. He then had some kind of brief exchange with a man who was seated right by that spot. Whatever the guy said must not have sat well with Smart, who was certainly not smart when he shoved the man in response.

3) Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah was fined fifteen thousand dollars for screaming profanities at the referees while his team was getting spanked by the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

4) Curt Schilling, who will always be a Philadelphia Phillie to me despite all the years he pitched for other teams after leaving my hometown, announced that he has cancer on Wednesday. He did not say what kind of cancer it is nor what treatment he will be pursuing.

5) A football player from the University of California-Berkeley, Ted Agu, collapsed and died while doing a conditioning drill on Friday. He was 21 years old.

6) The Detroit Pistons fired head coach Maurice Cheeks on Sunday after only fifty games as the team’s leader. I can’t imagine how you can know anything after only fifty games.

7) Wednesday was college football’s National Signing Day. There is always at least one kid who does something stupid, and this year was no exception. D.J. Law, a player from Florida, apparently signed Letters-of-Intent with three different schools on that day. The mess has not yet been cleared up.

8) Johnny Quinn, a bobsledder for the U.S. team, found himself somehow locked in a bathroom in his apartment in the Olympic Village in Sochi. He had to actually smash through the door to get out. The picture he tweeted was pretty awesome.

Good Sports:

1) SEC Defensive Player of the Year and likely NFL draft pick Michael Sam came out as gay on Sunday. Unless something really unfair occurs, he will likely be the first openly gay player that is active in a major U.S. sport.

2) Alex Rodriguez dropped his ridiculous lawsuit against Major League Baseball this week.

3) Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods and a golfer in her own right, won her first tournament on Sunday, taking the Australian Masters by two strokes.

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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One Response to “Bad sports, good sports: I am not watching the Olympics”

  1. Alan, good post … thanks for sharing.

    With a son going to ‘that other Oklahoma school’ in Norman, you won’t see me shedding any crocodile tears over Oklahoma State athletics.

    That being said, though … my beloved alma mater, UNM, played Texas Tech every year in basketball, and I gained a first-hand appreciation for how good some of the TTU ‘Guns-Up’ crowd could be … and how BAD some of the others could be.

    With that in mind, I’m wondering what Jeff Orr, the self-proclaimed “Texas Tech’s #1 fan,” had to say to Smart … I would not have been at all surprised if it was something that would have had me shoving the guy.

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