The Opening Ceremonies for the Games of the XXX Olympiad took place last night amid thunderous applause and international acclaim. Thousands of athletes from around the world trooped through London’s Olympic Stadium, receiving the accolades of over 100,000 fans on hand for the event. Team USA, resplendent in their “Made in China” national togs, hope to dominate the medal count over the course of the Olympics.
There are as many “favorite” events of the Olympic Games as there are people watching. For some, the pageantry witnessed last night is the high point of the Games. Others scoff at that, preferring actual competition, whether it be the raw speed of a freestyle swimmer, or the crowning of “The World’s Fastest Human” in the running of the 100 meter dash.
The opening ceremonies in particular with each new Olympic precession take on more of a W-T-F flair, with this version featuring among other things a plethora of Mary Poppins’ fighting a giant Voldemort to fend the wizard off from a vast collection of children in beds all doing a synchronized dance routine. That’s not trying to be funny in any way, that actually happened.
My favorite event changes every four years as I get caught up in the drama of one athlete’s story as he or she came from Nowheresville, USA, overcame great odds, and achieved Olympic gold. Then there are the Bud Greenspan Olympics documentaries that cover the festivities with various highlighted stories of personal intrigue and athletic accomplishment, though Mr. Greenspan’s recent passing means someone else will have to pick up the torch as it were. We’ll all miss Greenspan, who reportedly was blind as a bat but his forehead was correctable to 20/20 vision.
One scene, though, competition aside, never fails to bring a lump to my throat. The medal ceremony at the end of the night.
The lump always surprises me, too. I’ll be the first to admit that the National Anthem isn’t something that brings me to tears at a football game (the exception being the anthem at Autzen the week after 9/11–THAT one brought a tear to the eye). By the time the anthem comes around, I’m too jacked up from the week of anticipation (and message board nonsense from opposing fans) to pay attention to much of anything but the pads that are about to pop.
But the Olympic Medal Ceremony moves me. There is something about the spotlighted platform, the humbled athlete atop the podium, and the flag of the winner standing tallest of the three flags waving in the breeze. The opening notes of the winner’s anthem starts (it doesn’t even have to be our anthem, “Oh, Canada” gets me going too…So does “Hail Liechtenstein, You Tiny Little Country That’s So Cute I’d Like to Pinch Your Cheek,” or whatever it is they use ). It’s the whole idea.
All of this of course got me to thinking about schools of the Pacific- 12 Conference.
What if there was a medal ceremony at the end of football games?
What would the flag look like?
What song would play?
Stanford University: Hey, I know all about being past my prime. Knowing that my best days are behind me. Steven Tyler said it best when he said, “I’m too young to be so damn old.” That’s what it’s like to be Stanford now. Renaming their offensive coordinator position after Andrew Luck, who was never Stanford’s offensive coordinator, screams of wishing they could turn the book back a few pages to just the last couple chapters.
University of Southern California: The Trojan’s have been on the dark side of the street for quite some time. Reggie Bush’s family and their shady dealings, the hiring of the only man in America that could make Al Davis a sentimental character to be their head coach, and their carrion-like hustle and flow around Penn State running back Silas Redd. SC is kind of…oily.
Washington State University: Ah, the Palouse. It has it’s charm…I guess. There is…um…grass fields? And, uh, snow? Oh let’s face it! Recruiting to this pig is probably what drove Mike Price to the bottle and the pole for his entertainment. Mike Leach is up against it, because.
The University of Washington: Ah the storied Eww-Dub. They were a pretty good team back when they were cheating. Hugh McEllhenny once said that he took a pay cut to play in the NFL. Proud and storied, Husky fans. Proud and storied. Oh well, at least they didn’t have to play Miami in ’91.
Oregon State University: Our brothers from up north. Fellow travelers from the Willamette Valley. Beyond that, not a lot in common with the Ducks.
University of Oregon: Lowered lights except for the Duck on the podium. Another win in the books. A drum roll, and then…
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