Life And Games

Thursday, 11:45pm
Reno, NV
“Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal!” That Spanish-language sportscaster who screams “goal” like that during futbol matches.

Howdy,

Hey — you watching the Olympics?

What’s been your favorite moment?

I got sucked in pretty early. Despite the opening ceremonies which, I thought, completely blew chunks. I especially thought so after discovering they used CGI fakery for some of the whiz-bang effects.

I mean, really, man.

Totally uncool.

And NBC gets a D- from me for its prime time coverage.

The third day — while dozens of actual events were being ignored by the network — we were treated to a stupifying “feel good” non-sport segment featuring only American athletes mumbling about how they got there… followed by ten minutes of commercials… then a truly banal drawn-out segment of some Americans on the gold medal podium listening to the Star Spangled Banner… another ten minutes of commercials… and then ANOTHER long segment of different Americans on the podium.

With another helping of the Star Spangled Banner.

Just a tad jingoistic there, guys.

Look. I love the national anthem.

I think it’s kick ass (even though it’s to the tune of an English drinking song… which is ironic since the poem’s about the shelling of an American fort by British warships during the War of 1812… but never mind that).

It’s just that the Chinese haven’t got a clue how to play it right. They’ve got French horns blaring (French horns!) and zero soul.

That Nike commercial of Marvin Gaye doing it with true style is stunning.

Play that one once in a while, dudes, for the awards ceremony.

Damn it.

And the Chinese deserve F’s across the board for their shameful jail sentences to the folks who tried to get a permit to protest.

Talk about “bait and switch”. The Chinese gov’t made an announcement that a special area had been sectioned off in Beijing for anyone to protest — all you had to do was go to the police station and ask for permission.

There have been zero protests.

Because everyone who asked, was sent off to work camps for “re-education”. Two 70-year-old ladies were sentenced to hard labor for daring to complain.

Nice work. Show the world what a great country you run over there.

If you ever want a clear reason why the Constitution matters — even after centuries of asshole politicians trying to gut it — just consider the fate of folks in China who disagree with the leaders.

They throw bloggers in jail. Average 15-month sentence. For daring to criticize even the most dunder-headed moves by the Glorious Leaders.

Geez…. maybe I should keep quiet, huh? I may be going to China soon…

Bastards.

However…

Aside from all the communist mayhem and capitalist bullshit…

… I’m hooked on the Games.

I can’t help it.

Best part: I love the way all these international teams challenge our confined view of how sports should be played.

And I get excited just realizing how much other countries go bezerk over bizarre events… like handball.

You ever see a handball game? It’s freaky.

And ping pong.

I mean, what’s ping pong with no beer on the table?

That’s just… wrong.

Mostly, though, I’m grooving to the international flavor.

We don’t get enough of the world outside the US. Too many people here think the sun rises and sets on the continent alone.

I’ve traveled a bit, and I love the exotic feeling of foreign soil. I crave more of it.

I’ve been a slacker about it, lately. I let bidniz dictate my travel plans.

My bad.

But I’m suddenly jonesing to traipse new lands again.

Americans are way too isolated for our own good. This year’s basketball Redeem Team is going to slaughter everything in its path, and that’s fine with me.

But I also loved the stunning loss by our prior team, 4 years back. Not because I was rooting against them.

Because that shocker was necessary to remind everyone that a game…

… is still a game.

And underdogs can have their day.

Gotta love the underdogs, man. They’re my people.

And looky here… there’s even a marketing lesson in all this.

I’ve been giving advice to clients for years on how get “unstuck” with their marketing.

First order of biz: Get out of Dodge.

Go somewhere where your usual bullshit doesn’t cut it. Where you’re the one who doesn’t know the language. Where you’ve got to be on your toes, and put all your resources to the test.

Make those rusty old neurons fire on all cylinders again, get that sluggish gray matter pumping again.

It’s so easy to get bogged down in routine.

Living life well includes lots of “shake it up” adventure.

Doing new things.

Engaging the world outside your own safety zone, and maybe even taking a few lumps in the process.

It’s a big world. The US is a powerhouse… but in the grand scheme of things, we’re kinda provincial. Stuck in our ways. Naive, really, about a lot of things we’d be better off getting hip to.

When you ignore the commericals, hold your nose at the abusive gov’t shakedowns, and mute the sappy interviews…

… I think the actual games of the Olympics are kinda cool. You’re reminded, hourly, of how other people use goal-setting, discipline and a hard-core combination of cojones and guts to accomplish extraordinary things.

And it makes me wanna go play beach volleyball in Brazil, maybe…

Are you watching?

Heck, I’ve lost sleep staying up to catch certain events. It’s just riveting, sometimes…

Except for handball.

What the hell is THAT all about?

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

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7 Responses to Life And Games

  1. It’s neat how the human body twists, mutates and adapts to the bizzare stresses Olympic athletes put on them.

    Like the female weightlifters: They become inverted isosceles triangles. (I prefer the hourglass shape)

    Beach volleyball players tend to be a tad thinner than indoor volleyball players.

    The shot putters are twice as thick as a high jumper.

    Sprinters look like Spartan warriors and when long distance runners turn sideways…they disappear.

    They obviously haven’t heard of competitive napping…my body looks great and I’ve been training at that sport since my first University lecture.

    I’m enjoying the beer beach volleyball in Vancouver. Come on up John.

  2. An update:

    US won against Spain
    117-108 (Basketball)

    I can’t stay quiet watching that game. Good game by Spain, and the Redeemer redeemed what they lost in 2004. :)

  3. Hey John,

    Long time no talk!

    The Olympics never cease to amaze me.

    I only really pay attention to taekwondo (even though it doesn’t get TV time!) because that’s my sport, and this year was SHOCKING!

    First, Steven Lopez got bronze… after winning gold two olympics in a row!

    Then Angel Valodia Matos from Cuba got mad at a referree and kicked him in the face!

    I sh*t you not– I’d link a video to you, but looks like all of them have been pulled off the net.

    If I was him though, I’d be ashamed I couldn’t knock the referee out (even if it was my left leg) at 80kgs… GEEZE :)

    Amazing as always.

    Talk soon!
    Caleb

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