Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here's to you, Mr. Olympic Know All

It’s more annoying than a New York fan, it’s faster than the quickest guy at Nite Moves, look up and away it’s – some guy loudly discussing, in great detail, Olympic events he knows nothing about.
His natural habitat is in bars and coffee shops in downtown Santa Barbara (and might I say thank you for talking so loudly that no matter what seat I am in, I can not escape your incredibly insightful opinions). Is this guy you? If so, I am so excited the Olympics are over.

The Beijing Olympic games ended Sunday and just in time. With so many experts circulating around the bars, coffee shops and sidewalks of State Street, I thought we might run into some sort of overload of brain activity.
“Why not just quit your job at IHOP and become an announcer,” I may ask you. An example of what I am talking about I have actually overheard an argument while at a local coffee shop (guess which one, there are only 13,000 to choose from on State Street. Hint: it is Starbucks) between two grown men about the correct form for throwing a javelin.
Both men were sure that they were right about the correct form that it almost became a physical fight. I am quite certain that neither man had ever thrown anything. One man was so skinny he actually resembled a javelin, and the others argument consisted of repeating the phrase “You don’t understand, it is not round like a ball.”
For this reason I am compiling a list of the top three Olympic moments/sports that you have heard people talk about like an expert where really they have no idea. I have included the locations so if you actually know these people you may inform them how silly they appear.
Three: The Chinese Olympic gymnastics team. The whole argument is that to participate in the Olympic sport of gymnastics an athlete must be at least 16. However, these gymnasts looked a little young. By that, I mean a couple of them had not progressed to solid food yet. Every news organization was discussing what a scandal it was. So we all agree they look young.
I don’t know if they are under 16, but I do know this: the clown two seats from me at Sharkeez has no right to start blabbing about what an advantage it is that they are younger than 16. He was going on and on about how it is so unfair that they are under 16.
I bet you (the reader) know someone like this. Please ask them, “what is this tremendous advantage to being under 16 and participating in gymnastics?” I seriously don’t see what it is. Why would less time on Earth make them better at walking on a balance beam? It’s not like the other competitors are all over 80.
Does this loud man believe that the judges feel bad because they have to compete against older athletes and spot them extra points because they are young? These are impartial Olympic judges, not a doting grandparent. They are not going to give them extra points because they are cute. I don’t see the advantage
Two: How you could have made the Olympics had you only stuck with track and field. Granted, Santa Barbara does have some great athletic programs and has produced a surprising number of medal winners in this Olympics (thank you UCSB alumni Jason Lezak for picking up Michael Phelps’ slack). But, you’ve got to be kidding me about bragging that you could have totally made the Olympics had you only continued your track and field career with emphasis on shot put.
You may have been great at track and field around fourth grade but let me give you an apt metaphor. I was really great at drawing dinosaurs in fourth grade (which is surprising considering how color blind I am). If you were to ask anyone in my class they would say that I was the best dinosaur drawer (I preferred to be called dino-artist).
However, now that I look back on my sketches they don’t hold much water. That is similar to you, and your track and field career. I bet you killed it in middle, and maybe even high school. Maybe your name is up on a San Marcos High School, or on a plaque at Dos Pueblos. Hello, my name is reality. You were the best in a high school. These athletes are the best in the world you are competing against. A High School has a couple hundred kids to compete against. Surprisingly, the world has more competitors than your high school. Things change, you didn’t make the Olympics not a lot of people do. My only problem is your claim that you could have.
One: You know why someone acted a certain way and it because of their nationality. At best you sound like an uneducated person and at worst a racist. I was watching the running portion of the Olympics at another downtown bar establishment (really nothing makes me feel like part of the Olympics like eating massive amounts of appetizers).
Someone commented that the reason Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is so fast is because he is Jamaican. That makes no sense whatsoever. First off, that is not even a stereotype I had ever heard of. If you had said that he had short-term memory loss because he is Jamaican at least that would make sense. He went on to talk about how they have to run everywhere in Jamaica.
Does this man really believe that despite all the training, and strict dietary programs that US athletes are put on, that a Jamaican won an Olympic race because he ran to the store sometimes? As if running to the store can make you an Olympian. If so I have a Grandma who never got a license who is looking for some Puma sponsorship. You can’t make these broad generalizations about the athletes and their countries. These athletes are representative of their countries general populous in some ways, but in most they don’t. The average Santa Barbara person is in pretty good shape so they do generally represent us. However, if a foreigner was to ask if most people in the US look like Michael Phelps I would be sure to keep him away from the entire middle of the country. Most people in this country are more likely to resemble the pool than the swimmer.
So those are the big three. If you know one of these people that I discussed give them the heads up that they need to do some research. It’s not that they are necessarily bad people. It is just that they watched some Olympics and have decided that they are experts, when they are (come on seven years of UCSB, give me the right word) not. If you are one of the people I talked about and think I am wrong, write to me and tell me why I am wrong. I don’t think I am, but if you can prove me wrong, I will print it. I am sure I will overhear you talking about it on State Street anyway. Feel free to come up and talk top me about it. I will totally listen if you can catch me…. good luck though, I run to the store a lot.

Adam Lundquist can be reached at adamjlundquist@gmail.com and heard on KJEE from 6-10 AM. For the next article I am looking for people from Santa Barbara who have reached the NFL. If you know any feel free to email.

No comments: