How warm is your couch, Seth? I'm watching these Winter Games on television, you know, and can't help but think that all those people out there would really rather be in here. I want to invite them in, give them something hot to drink, let them tell me about the hardships they faced out there in the weather.
I'm not much of a winter sportsman, I guess. I'm from the South and tend to think of winter sports as the games Northerners have invented for bad weather when they can't do anything else. I can see, for example, how you might have a frozen lake out on your back 40, and a broom on hand and a big rock, and you might see your kid out there playing with all that and think to yourself, if you're a shuffleboard kind of guy, "Hey, that looks like fun!" So, you go curling. How that became an international sport, I don't know or really care, but the fearless United States curling team confronts curling powerhouse Sweden today and—what else am I doing?—I'll probably watch.
I took in the men's downhill slalom last night. What did you think of that? Skiing has always seemed to me a very necessary skill. I mean, I can understand the need people have in a blizzard to get to the grocery. And the downhill slalom really was a thrill to watch, with those 70-mile-an-hour speeds (that man must be hungry!) and the keen camera work and the announcer pounding into your head that this was terrifying, really it was. I watched it all the way through to Fritz "Noble" Strobl's victory, but I was half-ashamed to do it, because along the way I realized it was like car racing to me, and I was just waiting for someone to wipe out.
I tried some figure skating, too. It doesn't fit with the X-treme promos of these Games, but there's a little something here for every demographic, I suppose, and figure skating hits the beauty-pageant set. The skaters seem very lovely and graceful, but I can't help but think about the ice beneath them—that there's a Tonya Harding in every one, begging to be loved and willing more or less to break knees to get it. In that respect, I'm keeping my eye on the Canadian team, Jamie Salé and David Pelletier. There's just something compelling about that woman's teeth.
And there seems to be the same ice beneath the entire extravaganza here. They broke laws to get these Olympics to Utah. Salt Lake City is desperate to be loved; would someone please love Salt Lake City? For that matter, would someone love the United States? The way the World Trade Center flag was handled, I'm not sure the world was given a choice.
It's cold out, so I'll keep watching.