Sunday, August 10, 2008

Some Things That Don't Matter Never Change

But The Stuff That Does Matter Always Does

If you haven't heard me say it here on the blog, let me let you in on a little secret.

I could pretty much care less about the "Olympics."

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I guess it was around Carter's 1980 "boycott" of that year's games because of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that my personal relationship with the Olympics and Olympic TV coverage started its steady down hill movement.

Heck, the world came to my doorstep and brought the Olympics to Atlanta in 1996 and I only manage to watch a little piece of the proceedings on TV.

I was working in an engineering office in downtown Atlanta the day in 1989 when the city was officially awarded the games and I celebrated in Underground Atlanta with my boss at the time and with throngs of my fellow Georgians with delight over the prospect, but by the time I had lived with the politics, infighting, and official ticket scalping which ensued in actually bringing the Olympics to a successful completion I made what I still believe today to be a rational decision.

I actually left town for most of the duration of the 1996 Summer Olympics in order to avoid what was projected to be giant traffic jams and congestion. I was, however, scheduled to be in Centennial Olympic Park the evening when the infamous Richard Jewell explosive backpack went off.

Fortunately, a couple of three too many Margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant caused me to stay home in Smyrna that evening so my own personal brush with that disaster was averted.

Any way, writing about the Olympics has been an annual topic here on my blog, and the following posting was first delivered on August 14th, 2004 (back before I knew how to convert html links into plain text):

As Television became a part of most every family's life in the 1960's, so were the political realities of issues like race relations and international politics brought home to our living rooms each and every evening.

Where in the 1940's and 1950's you had to read the newspaper or go to the local movie house to see news reels before each film or during intermission, the Network evening news and cable/satellite television now brings the gory details of worldwide tragedy's into your personal space in suburbia for your individual enjoyment or horror.

With the opening of the $7.34 billion edition of the modern Olympic Games, the current terror threat level and the multi-billion dollar security (that's Billion with a B) reminds me of some historical lessons that we could all probably learn from:

For instance, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) wins the gold medal in the 1964 Olympics, refuses to be drafted and go to Vietnam, and changes his name to that of a member of that peaceful religion called Islam:

Then Palestinian Arab "Terrorists" (lead by a young, future Nobel Peace Prize winner--Yasser Arafat) slip into the 1972 Munich Olympic Village and hold hostage and massacre Israeli athletes:

Another future Nobel Peace Prize winner--one term President Jimmy (smile when you say that) Carter boycotts the 1980 Olympic games because the Soviets invaded Afghanistan...say what???

Then Richard Jewell took the initial heat for the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta:

So what spine tingling excitement will the current events in Athens (Greece, thank God, not Athens, Georgia...home of UGA) hold for us over the next few weeks???

We're flying back from Chicago to the Georgia coast for the arrival of Hurricane Charley tomorrow--wish us luck.

Keep watching, listening, and learning, Ya'll...

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