I can’t remember the last time I went all Manilow on you. That’s probably because I’ve never done it before.
But I’m “Tryin’ to Get The Feelin’ Again.”
And I’m failing miserably.
I’m talking about the Olympics in general. And certainly this fiasco in Beijing in particular.
A brief personal history. I have always loved the Olympics. My dad taught me that. Summer. Winter. And if they had held a Harvest Moon Olympics, I’d have been in on that, too, as long as it didn’t involve Neil Young.
But I’m done.
Sure, the Olympics have always required suspension of disbelief to enjoy. The We Are the World, Come Together Right Now narrative was always largely fraudulent. But it was like watching ET for two weeks. It made you feel good.
Now it just makes me sad. And why would I want to be sad? My aversion is not a boycott, and I really made no conscious decision to turn away from the Olympics. I simply realized that I just don’t care anymore.
I know where you’re going. “Why would you want to hold all these follies against the athletes? They’re innocent.”
Yes and no.
Certainly I have respect for the athletes, particularly those who compete in obscure sports that only get mentioned for a fortnight every four years. But I can respect them and that without having to fake a warm and fuzzy.
Of course the Olympics have always been political. You think you have to explain that to me? I’m a child of the Cold War. You want some bitter competition? That was to the death, in some cases literally.
The Olympics have always been “commercial,” and have always been corrupt. Always.
So rather than engage in pointless hand-wringing and tut-tutting, I’ll just blame myself.
I just don’t care anymore.
I opened with Manilow. I’ll close with Lightfoot.
“I don’t know where we went wrong, but the feeling’s gone and I just can’t get it back.”
I will make one and only one exception. In the next Summer Games, I will watch the finals of the men’s 4 X 400 meter relay. And that’s it. I will watch the Olympics for two minutes and 58 seconds.
See, these habits die hard.