Am I the only one who thinks the Olympics are just a little bloated and self-important? The luge is cool, I guess, but when I hear that somebody has died in the lifelong pursuit of an otherwise absolutely useless skill, I don’t understand our need to romanticize it. As much as the commercials try to feed you the idea, one’s ability to go down a hill on a plank really is not a compelling metaphor for human achievement.
I imagine that guy getting to heaven, and the other dead folks asking him, “So, how did you go?” And when he explains it to them, they say, “…Oh. You woke up at 4:30 every morning and trained all day for twenty years so you could do that? Like, you really couldn’t think of one field of human endeavor that might have been a better use of all that time and discipline? A world eating itself alive with war, famine, hatred, disease… you could have worked in a thumbtack factory, and at least then you’d be making thumbtacks. But no, you picked luge.”
The strength of character and will required to make it to the Olympics (or, really, any professional sport) only deepens my misgivings about it: these are people who clearly could have accomplished something more meaningful.
And it isn’t just sport; this McQueen guy spends his life making weird-ass costumes for waifish cocaine addicts to wear (once), and then when he dies you hear interviews from industry people talking about all his “great contributions”, and all he accomplished before he was taken from us too soon.
You can work your whole life to become the best dog groomer or cake decorator or wedding planner in the business, but don’t expect the rest of us to pull long faces and talk about how meaningful it was that you “dedicated your life” to your ludicrous profession.