[This article originally appeared in the Feb 13 print edition of St. Louis Game Time. And, yeah, I realize I'm probably in the minority here.]
I hate the Olympics. And not because I find Ice Dancing immensely boring or because I hate professionals playing in amateur games and not because about the only cool sports they have are apparently now too dangerous and people are dying attempting them.
I hate them, as is my way, because they affect me personally. Stupid Winter Games break forces the NHL to shut down for two weeks, which forces the league to compress their schedule on both sides of the break, which forces crazy schedules at home rinks, which forces me to have back-to-back papers followed by a month off.
So yeah, maybe I'm a little focused on me on this one, but goddamn the Olympics are kinda fucking me over here. But beyond their personal vendetta against me, there's other reasons I just don't get into the Olympics.
First of all, beyond the fact that I'm taking the Olympics as a personal affront to me, I really do hate the games. The Winter Olympics are the only ones I notice anyway, because the Summer Olympics are basically just watching people running. If I wanted to watch people run, I'd get up early and sit on my front porch and yell inappropriate things at all the maniacs out trodding around my neighborhood. Running isn't even a sport, how the hell is it in the Olympics? And who the hell watches that anyway?
But even the Winter games don't do it for me. I'll admit I watched curling for about five minutes once, but that was mainly to prove to myself that it was actually happening. The skiing is fine, I guess, but try to tell me that you're not watching it hoping for a wreck and I'll call you a liar. Just like all these so-called NASCAR fans. Skeleton, luge, bobsled? Same, same, same. You know you want to see a wreck. Otherwise all you're really watching is a half-second clip of a dude flying by in spandex.
The only real sport worth watching in the Olympics is the hockey. And I know that most NHL fans are getting into the assembling of the national teams and are looking forward to some of the best hockey on the planet over the next couple weeks. I'm sure that lots of you will be watching it too. As for me, I just can't do it. While I'd love to say that I'm taking a moral stand against professional athletes destroying the purity of an amateur event, I can't do that either. Honestly, I don't believe in the ‘purity' of the event anyway, or that the other athletes aren't basically professionals anyway (Is there even a pro curling league?) or any other horseshit.
I just don't care for them. They bore me. They are not my teams.
Now I don't want to go the other way and sound like I'm not proud of my country, because I am. I don't know that it exactly transfers over to national pride for when my team beats another nation's team or my country's ice dancers out ice dance another country's ice dancers. I just have a hard time getting into it.
Looking at the Team USA (or as we like to call it, Team America, fuck yeah!) roster, there are David Backes and Erik Johnson on board. I might be interested in seeing how they do. If there's an important game and those guys are playing important roles, I might be convinced to watch. Looking farther down the line, exciting players like Phil Kessel and Bobby Ryan and Paul Stastny are in the lineup. Okay, I might be intrigued to watch some of those guys play a little. What else do we have? Joe Pavelski, Ryan Malone, Jamie Langenbrunner, Paul Martin and Tim Gleason? Uh oh. See, this is where we have a problem. Ever sit down to watch an all-star game and then wake up two hours later wondering what happened? A list of players like that is what happened. I'm sure some of those guys are great players and might be fun to watch for some folks, but seriously? Jamie Langenbrunner? I just don't see spending a lot of time there.
Who else? Who else is on that team? Patrick Kane, Brian Rafalski and Ryan Suter? Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose out front should have told ya. See, I am not the kind of person who can just flip my allegiances on and off like that. I am tuned to hate Red Wings and Blackhawks. I can't suddenly go back and say, "You know, maybe Patrick Kane isn't such a whiny crybaby who chews on his mouthguard like he's still sucking at his mother's teat. I guess if he wants to call himself ‘Showtime' and name his signature skates the ‘Candy Kanes' and wants to punch out cab drivers then maybe that's all okay now. Go USA!"
Seriously, fuck that guy.
Same goes for Rafalski and Ryan Suter too. I hate those guys and their stupid teams and just because they pull on a different jersey means I can pretend that they aren't still on those teams.
Instead, you can expect to find me spending prime Olympics-viewing hours watching my copy of Miracle again. I'd recommend the same to you. Better yet, go to forgottenmiracle.com and get the DVD about the 1960's men's Olympic team and watch that first, then throw in Miracle. At least none of those guys were Red Wings or Blackhawks trying to trick you into cheering for them.
-Sean "already waiting for March" Gallagher