Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fire and Ice

I like big events, Company. Don't you like big events? Well I hope so because two big events began last night, AND it was Abraham Lincoln's birthday, so it was an extra special day. But let us focus on the two big events.

First was Carnival, celebrated around the world but biggest and best down in Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro. If you like dancing and naked bodies, then this is the event for you. Down there just about anything goes, but it is all about music and dancing and costumes and revelry. It's fantastic. Carnival is all about letting it snap in the days before the Catholic holiday of Lent, which lasts for 40 days and 40 nights and is all about giving stuff up. So you can imagine why they like to party before. Carnival will meet its end, well, maybe not meet its end so much as reach its crescendo, at Mardi Gras, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. Carnival is really a sight when you see hundreds of thousands of people lining the beach and just about every street along the main drag in Rio. It's out of control, and that's what is so great about it. Just millions of people having a good time, and I am definitely pro good time.

The second big event occurred a little bit farther north, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to be exact, and that was the Opening Ceremony for the XXI Winter Olympic Games. I like the Winter Olympics, I have to admit, and I will tell you my favorite sports in the Games are curling, ice hockey, ski jumping, and bobsledding, in no particular order. And while for the most part this Opening Ceremony has gone off without a hitch (well, except one), there are still some interesting things to note when it comes to these games.

First of all, I don't know it you know this, but it rains a lot in Vancouver. If you have ever been to Seattle think about that, because Vancouver has a very similar climate. So, because of all this rain - which doesn't really jive well with Winter Olympics at least in my mind - they have held the Opening Ceremony indoors, in the BC Place Stadium, which is really a dome. This sort of throws me because they must have cranked the air conditioning WAY up for the ceremony, because everyone in there was wearing jackets and hats, etc. Strange scene.

What else was strange was that they had to have two Olympic Cauldrons. See, like we just talked about BC Place Stadium is a domed stadium, and there is a pesky rule with the Olympics that the cauldron has to be visible from like out about town. You can't see a lit cauldron inside of a building, can you? So once they lit the cauldron they had to have Wayne Gretzky run outside, then get paraded down the street in a Chevy truck that had a conspicuously large Chevrolet symbol on the grille, to a second cauldron down the street. It was an exact replica of the one inside, but now everyone could see it. I think that it was cool that Gretzky was able to carry the flame the extra part, but I really think that they should have let Catriona Lemay Doan do it.

The reason why I am coming across as so pro-Catriona Lemay Doan is because this Olympics hasn't been without its glitches so far, and he was the victim of one of them. The Olympic Cauldrons are made up of like four pillars that come together to make the cauldron, all of them on fire and spitting noxious fumes into the atmosphere. Well, when the pillars began to come out of the floor of the stadium, one for each of the four people standing there with torches, one of them didn't work. The floor door (I love things that rhyme) wouldn't open up. So poor Catriona just stood there with nothing to light. Gretzky got to light one inside so I think they should have switched it up and let her carry the torch outside. Or they should have told Wayne not to light one inside, then nobody would have known there was a problem. Genius. I should have been the one there making decisions.

There were other hitches too, most notably the stunning lack of snow at most of the event locations, and the tragic death of a Georgian luger just hours before the Opening Ceremony began. Apparently people were saying that the track was very fast, and during a training run Nodar Kumaritashvili lost control, was launched from his sled and went flying into some sort of light pole or something that wasn't even on the course. He was thrown free from the course. It was tragic and there will be questions I am sure if another athlete gets injured.

All being said though, it seemed to go well and I am looking forward to the Games. I like them and I am sure there will be some sort of inspirational or intriguing story to come out of them. I am, however, unhappy that the games are being carried by NBC, because I hate NBC Sports so much. Before I moved the Worldwide Headquarters I could watch them on CBC, which was nice, but now I am stuck with the Peacock. They sent Bob Costas, who I don't want die but I just want to go away forever, and Matt Lauer, who I thought was Dan Fouts until I found out it was him. That does not bode well for anyone.

Anyway, I suppose I will be watching and I hope you do, unless you are going to Carnival. I suppose you could watch then because you will be up late and Rio is only an hour ahead of like New York and D.C. and Lexington, South Carolina. So tune in or get out and enjoy the Olympic or Carnival spirit.

1 comment:

BradPerala said...

I almost wrote this same blog this morning. I'm glad I didn't. you did it better than I would have.