The best thing about the Olympics is it’s a great diversion from Bay Area sports.
Michael Phelps isn’t a visiting swimmer from Baltimore kicking the crap out of Bay Area swimmers; he’s a local guy dominating in Beijing.
The foibles of Bay Area teams, coaches and general managers are irrelevant, at least for a few hours each evening (or all day if you’re truly obsessive). In the Olympics, when local athletes get mentioned it’s for positive reasons, like when Natalie Coughlin (who swam at Carondelet High, Diablo Valley College and UC Berkeley) won the most exciting race we saw last night: the 100 meter backstroke.
I have to say, the Olympics may be adding years to my life. I haven’t taken up swimming or anything, or started training to be an elite synchronized diver (what’s next, synchronized ski jumping in the Winter Games?), but taking a little focus off the garbage that has passed for professional sports around here has to be a healthy thing, right? In fact, just a week ago I had this conversation with my doctor:
Doctor: Did you just come in from a run? Your blood pressure is 240/160!
Me: No, just drove here after listening to the Bruce Bochy Show. He said Dave Roberts and Omar Vizquel are starting today.
Doctor: Oh dear.
Me: And I drove past Niners training camp to get here, and I saw Alex Smith throw the ball straight into Kentwan Balmer’s face mask. The ball got stuck! Stuck!!!
Doctor: We’re going to need to give you a shot. Sit still…
Me: And Mike Martz wasn’t even watching Alex, he was brushing J.T. O’Sullivan’s hair!!! … Ow!
Doctor: Just injected a little HGH/EPO cocktail into you there, don’t worry. Are you watching the A’s, too?
Doctor: Thank God. If you were watching the A’s, you’d probably be dead by now. Listen, you need to limit your caffeine intake, stop eating criminal amounts of Triscuits and salami, and watch the Olympics.
Me: But what about Giants/Dodgers?
Doctor: Limit your intake to three innings per day at the most, and try to avoid the Astros if at all possible. For you, the Olympics will act as a sort of sports methadone. It will keep you from the Bay Area pro franchises that have been harming you, but you’ll still be watching sports. They’ll just be sports that girls like.
Me: Or else?
Doctor: You may not make it until September if you don’t take a break. Pretend baseball and football don’t exist until the Olympics are over.
So far it’s working. Watching Phelps and the rest of the Americans has given life a new purpose. Sports isn’t about watching terrible offenses and wasted seasons, it’s about gold medals and long, sappy commercials with animal symphonies playing the theme songs of horrible airlines! I feel like a new man, and I have to give the Olympics all the credit. Well, either the Olympics or that shot the doctor gave me.