Tag Archives: sports

Please Let Me Watch You Eat

A million donuts? Two? When would they be satisfied?

The Olympics is a nationalistic meathead’s dream. Every four years, thousands of top athletes from all over the globe gather and bodily compete with one another, determining the greatest countries through sheer sweat and muscle, swimming, rowing, clawing, and back-flipping to the top of the doggy pile and victory dancing on the bodies of lesser countries. Thousands of pounds (kilos) of muscle writhing with one another in a city famous for tea and stony-faced soldiers: what fun!

Regardless of which Olympic event I’m watching, my reaction is always the same.  “Whoaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……………they’re so fast.” If I were an Olympic broadcaster, my narrative would go something like, “This woman is very fast, Bill, very fast. Did you see how fast she’s going? You know what, they’re all really fast. They should all get medals. Bill, the last time I ran, my knee started hurting after about five minutes so I stopped and went home. I’m 23, Bill. That woman is 39 and she is going very fast. Let’s go get her a medal.”

After going gaga over the sheer speed and athleticism, the fact most of these people could outrun various wild beasts and then spear them and carry their carcasses to the nearest hibachi grill at full sprint, I immediately move to the next logical topic of rumination: how much they eat. Seriously, how much food could a team of male gymnasts consume? Or female swimmers? What about the long-distance runners when they’re gearing up for a race? These “humans” are made entirely of muscle and work out for 90% of the time. Their caloric intake must be huuuuuge.

My Olympic dream is something quite simple: I want to go to an Italian restaurant with a group of Olympians, male and female, from all different sports. I want to point to the menu, say “We’ll have everything.” Minutes later, the entire staff of the restaurant emerges carrying silver platters loaded with mountains of pasta. And then I would watch, in awe, as the hungriest people in the world ate.

What would it be like? Would people lose limbs and wear protective goggles to prevent eye injury? Would they be civil but determined? How fast would it take to demolish the food on the table? When would they be hungry again? I have so many questions burning inside of me. Each time I turn on the television, they strike me again with the force of a discus. I see a man running, I wonder what he ate that day. I see a woman playing water polo, I imagine her going to town on eight big macs for breakfast. I MUST KNOW THE TRUTH.

We all know that the only true benefit of exercising is being able to eat more without gaining weight. Is the whole “Olympic” thing just a way to mask these people’s food addictions? And is there enough food in London for them to feed hordes of hungry Olympians? How much pasta would it take to satiate their appetites?

I exhaust myself with questioning. Perhaps I will never know. I turn to my oatmeal, and eat quietly.

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One High-Schooler’s Fight Against Brainwashing

The best and brightest. Scowling and/or faceless. 

When I was a senior in high school I became convinced that the administration was brainwashing us.  I don’t recall what I was reading at the time, but 1984 and Brave New World had rocked my world pretty hard in middle school and from then on I knew people wanted to be inside my head.

My conviction began with an assembly that threatened school pride.

It was midmorning on a Thursday the week of the big game against our rival, South Classen.  War drums pounded as all 2000 some high-schoolers of North Memorial slowly poured into the gymnasium and were segregated by class.

The assembly was meant to be forty five minutes of pure adrenaline, incendiary statements pouring into the bleachers and inflating the students’ zeal. At the assembly’s climax, the principal would stand and conduct the entire student body in a war chant, each section rising when indicated and bellowing with all the spite and sincerity we could muster, “NORTH PANTHERS BEAT SOUTH” or something like that, with each class taking a different word.

But this rally was different. While the majority of the student masses was hubbubing energetically, one section remained unimpressed: the seniors. This was not our first rodeo, and we no longer believed the hollow promises of the administration. Nothing had changed in four years, regardless of any game’s outcome. We still had acne, got annoyed with our parents, and didn’t know how to talk to our crushes (some things never change).

The gymnasium was buzzing with excitement, the word “NORTH” still echoing in the rafters. It was our turn to yell, to show our school pride, our communal virility and patriotism. At the same time, an anonymous whisper trickled through the senior section, “Everyone sit down…no one say anything.” As the baton pointed to the senior class, the world held its breath.

Silence roared as the seniors did nothing. No one spoke, moved, or giggled. It was awesome.

Red faced, the administration quickly moved on, but the senior class knew it had scored an incredible victory and impressed the underclassmen with our apathy.

Technically, I did not attend this assembly, choosing to protest against school pride through a furious nap. But I was  inspired by the story when I heard it the next day, especially because of the storm of anger the school administration proceeded to vomit at us.

“You will bow down to the god of school spirit!” they bellowed. “You will be a part of Memorial North and worship your school! We will take away your prom and your grinding should you refuse!”

The outrage buzzing through the administration was electrifying. We had struck a nerve. I finally realized that we had been blinded by petty intra-school rivalry. This was our opiate, meant to keep us calm in the face of gross injustices such as the fact we couldn’t wear bikinis to class. I wanted to mount a resistance, print out pamphlets, hold meetings, and do everything it took to beat the administration and throw off their yoke, whatever that meant.

One day, I began talking excitedly about the uprising with a fellow classmate. I waxed poetic about the need to resist and the false reality we were being spoon fed by the administration. Of course, I sounded completely insane, and classmate told me as much, mocking me every time I saw him for weeks.

I soon forgot my passion for anti-school-spirit—I was graduating soon anyways. Looking back, I still remember how obvious it seemed to me that the administration was distracting us from a greater reality but I think I just wanted my life to be more interesting than it actually was. And that’s when I started vigilante crime fighting.

*some details altered because my memory is bad

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