Sunday, August 17, 2008
I've always had mixed opinions about the modern Olympics. On the one hand, you have to admire the dedication of the atheletes involved, whether they win a medal or not. The sacrifice and pain they must put up with dwarfs anything I have attempted in the past, and deserve unflagging admiration. On the other hand, the Olympics are frequently a political statement on the merits of one form of government or another, and the concept of "fair competition" between rich and poor countries is often questionable. There is also the arguement of "the money could be better spend doing....(fill in the blank)", but I've never really subscribed to that one, as it tends to belittle anything that isn't absolutely pragmatic, and I think humans gain their quality of life and identity through how they manage their non-pragmatic stuff (art, love, purely investigative science, etc.)
Here's a thought that surfaced this weekend. How about having an Olympic games founded soley on playground games? We could have Olympic Red Rover competition, or "line tag" (I don't know how many people played that one-you need a tennis court where the players have to stick to the lines when they move, but are considered "safe" when standing on an intersction of lines). How about Olympic "What time is it Mr. Wolf"? If you never played that, the "it" person is the "wolf", and the players advance slowly behind him/her asking "What time is it Mr. Wolf?" The "wolf" answers 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, etc. until they think the line of players is close enough to "tag" one of them, when they scream "It's lunch time", and turn around and run at the screaming hordes behind them. I love picturing a group of Olympic hammer-throwers running away while shreiking at the tops of their lungs.
There are enough playground games for a winter Olympics too. Olympic "king of the hill" is a natural, along with Olympic snowball fights and Olympic snowman knock-down (how long does it take you to knock down another kid's snowman?). I remember kids spending their entire winter recesses trying to roll the largest snow-ball they could make, often rolling one or more kids under the mammoth snow-ball as they went.
I forsee "Nerf" being a major sponsor of the games, and host nations introducing their own country's kids games as demonstration sports. I oould easily identify with a marble-shooter more than a decathelete, and enjoy watching the laughter of thwe kid rolled down the snow-hill more than the distress of the sprinter who lost a medal by 1 1/100's of a second.