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My Two Cents on the Opening Ceremonies

I love the Olympics. Always have, but I especially remember being excited about something amazing in 1980, Lake Placid, and being absolutely obsessed in 1984, Los Angeles. (Aside: Are the stories of Mary Lou Retton, Edwin Moses, Carl Lewis, Mary Decker, the men’s gymnastics team, and others really 26 years old? Mercy.) I love the spectacle of it, the temporary (albeit artificial) peace, the competition, the human interest stories, etc. All to say that I enjoyed last night’s Opening Ceremonies with my family. Quick observations, just for fun:

  • The use of the entire arena—and especially the floor—as a giant “screen” and “canvas” was brilliant. From the moment the ice began to part, I was captivated.
  • The material mountains were great. Very creative.
  • What is it with Olympic games and religion? The ceremonies often have an ecumenical, religious, pantheistic feel—usually accented by ancient pagan stories, calling to Indian deities, and culminating in a hymn. Yikes.
  • The death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvilli is very sad. One of the most joyful times of his family’s life has been twisted into a tragedy. What a reminder of human frailty even as we celebrate human accomplishment.
  • Count me among the fans of Lindsey Jacobellis. Her embarrassing loss in Torino and her gracious response have me cheering for a win.
  • Shaun White has big hair and a bigger smile. Hard not to like that guy in a “he’s-my-weird-cousin” sort of way.
  • Speaking of big hair…just, wow. Measha Bruggergosman.
  • The malfunction of the torch thingy was unfortunate. But it does make me feel better about the technical glitches we have too often at TCBC. <snicker>
  • Finally…No Red Green??!! Seriously? Scandalous.

Keep your stick on the ice, Vancouver. And remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.


24 Responses

  1. Hi Chris

    I’ll be interested to see what other Americans think of the program. We watched about half of it, we had other things going on. I’ll offer a few observations from the cynical Canuck point of view.

    – way too much pandering to the ‘First Nations’. Yes, they are part of our history, but really, what has their culture done for them? Or for Canada?

    – what was with the weird guy with glasses shouting Canadian insecurities for all the world to see? I know that we are the anti-america, but do we have to advertise it every time we get a chance? So we say ‘Zed’. Big deal. And now I discover we are “what” in “what’s new”… (and I always thought we were the “what” in “what’s that”).

    – I thought the light show was interesting, but it did tend to drag on.

    – why do we have to put k.d. lang on center stage?

    – the cauldron malfunction was amusing. But we liked each of the final torchbearers, all sporting people who Canadians really like. I loved that Wayne got to light the permanent torch downtown.

    Lest I seem too cynical, it was enjoyable (although we muted certain performances, see the lowercased individual above). I am glad to show off our neck of the woods to the world, it is a spectacularly beautiful place (though I am not sure it is the best winter games location).

    And I am glad that it is all across the pond and we won’t be bothered by it too much. Vancouver can have it!

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  2. I hear you, Don. I think there was a lot of the “First Nations” bit in Salt Lake, too. I get that it’s part of our history and culture. Good. Acknowledge it. But it was a bit overdone. I chalk it up to guilt.

    We spent the K. D. Lang song debating whether she’s a male or female. I alone guessed female, but didn’t know I was right until doing a Wiki search.

    Gotta love Gretzky. Interestingly, I have little history with Canada, but was there on a mission trip when he was traded. You’d think Kennedy was shot or something. National tragedy.

  3. man, you’d have to bring up THE TRADE, eh?

    I can remember exactly where I was when it was going down… picking up some customers to show them a house they eventually bought (I was selling real estate to support our ministry). It was shocking.

    We stayed up late that night staring at the ceiling, listening to a sports talk show dissecting THE TRADE from 10pm till 1 am. It was devastating.

    Ok, let’s get back to the Olympics. THE TRADE is way too traumatic.

    ah, and kd lang… she is from my home province, a national embarassment.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. Great observations. (I could hardly believe all that hair on that singer too!)

    I hardly watch any sports except the Olympics. I think it’s the stories behind the athletes (especially ones about the parents) that I enjoy the most. And don’t forget the commercials–we normally mute them but turn some up. The Olympic kids and moms one was great. :)

    I know there are groups at the Olympics who are spreading the news of the gospel–Answers in Genesis is one group. So let’s pray for them.

  5. Funny thoughts, you guys! I have to say, I like Bob Costas’s (is that right?) word about Measha…he said, “That my friends, was a hymn!” Cindy and laughed out loud at that–as if Bob Costas was the final word on hymns. I really was embarrassed for her–it was painfully obvious the people standing there waiting for her to finish were “amused” by her singing. Oh, the often “Life-and-music-is-about-me!” atmosphere of many musicians. The spectrum of music was huge. I loved the whales and the prairie fields that the dude hanging and flying.
    It seemed to take forever to get the cauldron lit, and I being a person who has had to direct some stuff, I know that horrible feeling when it doesn’t go right and there is nothing you can do about it–but stand there on world-wide TV and sort of “smile.”
    Overall though, it was enjoyable.

  6. I guess the cauldron operators could have learned a little from Red Green – “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” ;-)

  7. at the risk of sounding ignorant…who or what is red green? i think every country starts with their roots…australia did also. but i enjoyed the violin/tap dancing/clogging that came later. their clothing was more interesting than the indians! and those whales!!

    across the pond? whats happening in britain?

  8. Apparently you don’t watch PBS! Red Green (Steve Smith) is a Canadian Redneck with very, very dry sense of humor. He had a show in Canada for a number of years. Reruns are now on PBS.

  9. Red Green is very Canadian. I sometimes wonder if Americans get all the jokes.

    And by across the pond, I am talking about the water between Vancouver Island and Vancouver (mainland British Columbia). Being on the Island, we are usually fairly safe from Vancouvers excitements.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  10. I missed the opening ceremonies.

    I would have been more likely to watch had it been reruns of Red Green. He may be the best thing in Canada (just ahead of Dry Ginger Ale and Don Cherry. You gotta watch Hockey Night in Canada just to see what Don is wearing; just turn the volume down, the jacket and tie are loud enough).

    The Red Green show is hilariously funny. (Yes that’s redundant because it’s just that funny.)

    My wife doesn’t understand why I laugh out loud at it. She doesn’t think it’s that funny. But she doesn’t laugh at my jokes either, and they are really funny. So it must be her.

  11. Chris wrote, “What is it with Olympic games and religion? The ceremonies often have an ecumenical, religious, pantheistic feel—usually accented by ancient pagan stories, calling to Indian deities, and culminating in a hymn. Yikes.”

    — because everybody is innately spiritual

    Chris wrote, “We’re all in this together.”

    — so you did watch High School Musical, didn’t you?

  12. “We’re all in this together” was from Red Green first. No need to watch High School Musical to get that!

  13. Here is the take of a former Canadian politician you might enjoy. He is a pretty good guy, conservative, but not a Christian, I think. (Not 100% sure on that…) He liked kd lang. But he is an Alberta guy, so I guess he is supposed to say that.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  14. All the olympics do is remind me how much I already miss football. I would rather read Charles Finney than watch them. That being said, “go USA!”

  15. […] Posted on February 14, 2010 by Chris I enjoyed the discussion that followed my first Olympics post, so I’ll keep chiming in with observations as I have opportunity. Of course, I welcome […]

  16. Someone mentioned groups sharing the gospel during the Olympics…one of my blog friends is a missionary wife there, and they have tons of tracts with plans to give them out.

  17. Andrew, I’d think Volunteers fans would be glad for the diversion—any diversion—from football.

  18. A group from the other Baptist church in Steamboat is in Vancouver for the Olympics, serving and sharing the Gospel specifically with the teams of support personnel (parking attendants, security guards, etc.). This is a good time to remember to pray for those who are seeking to share Christ in the context of the Olympics.

  19. Am I dreaming or did someone from the Cleveland area actually make a disparaging comment about another person’s football team?

  20. First, I’m a Buckeyes fan. We’re a perennial powerhouse with a National Title and several top 5 finishes under our belt. Don’t mess with me.

    Second, I’m a lifelong Broncos fan who has no attachment to the Browns.

    Third, as a Broncos fan, I’m glad for the diversion. :(

  21. I hate football! Go Redskins.

    I watched skating last night. What’s up with all the falls?? Back in the day, noone fell. Last night (pairs) was pretty disappointing… though I am glad for the Chinese couple – and their coach.

  22. […] 2010 Olympics posts: here and […]

  23. […] “Olympic Moments” posts: here, here, here, and […]

  24. Shaun White told the story of his mother taking the gold medal to get cleaned at the cleaners in the interview with Cris Collingsworth on NBC. It was really funny! White questioned his mother if there was anyway they could get the ribbon clean as it had gotten very disgusting and his mother took the whole thing to the dry cleaners! Shaun was astonished when she brought it back with the dry cleaning bag on top of it. He also thought it was funny that she complained about how much they charged her too.

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