Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Beady eyes on the bleedin' prize

Greedy Bird (2010) by Pants

Olympic competition is supposed to bring out the best in people but frequently brings out the worst. A display of this polarisation has been on show at the London Aquatic (or Arkwodik here in Australia) Centre this week. Firstly, there was the cultural cringe induced by more Australian swimmers than is decent sobbing into their Gatorade when their presumed right to come first in everything was usurped by some upstart competitor of the foreign persuasion. 

That unsporting ghastliness was immediately and spectacularly superseded by the outrageous bullying of 16-year-old swimmer Ye Shiwen by the international media pack. She was left to face ferocious and very personal accusations of 'doping' without any support from Chinese officials or anyone else for that matter. Nice.

Where on the one hand, we have 'competitors' who would seemingly bet their entire future happiness and both sets of grandparents on winning a swimming race that lasts for a couple of minutes, in other Olympic venues, we have 'players' who are just as determined to lose. It would appear that some badminton teams and maybe also some basketball teams have been deliberately trying to throw early round games, either for strategic or political reasons. How frustrating for the 'play up, play up and play the game' ethic. Who knows what this even means any more?

The host nation's haunting howl of 'oh God, not another fourth-place' and its visceral terror of failing to run down a single gold medal at its own games, not to mention the descending gloom of rain for the remains of the days, threaten to dissolve the paper-thin jiggy-jiggy. Britain does try desperately hard not to mind being overtaken at everything it is pretty sure it invented or owned by divine right or something. Let's hope the nation's stiff upper lip has more endurance than its athletes' feats.

Of course, it's very easy for Pants and her consort the Question Why to pontificate from the comfort of their respective recliners in Larrikin's End, especially as they're usually watching DVDs rather than the Olympics. AND, it's only fair to declare that Barney is an official sponsor. And, we have friends in London who tell us that they're loving it all. And, we've already written about how gloriously thrilling we found the Opening Ceremony. And, we will declare right now how much we're looking forward to the bad-tempered reunion of the completely ridiculous Spice Girls and can only hope that it breaks some kind of irony record. Is there a gold in irony on offer?

But the sports part of it does suck though, right?

The card game Five Hundred - or Idiots' Bridge - is popular in Australia. In this game you can win with a losing hand by playing a 'lay down misere'. You just have to lose every trick. How hard can it be?