Sunday, February 26, 2006

sports reflects society

I had resolved to ignore the Winter Olympics. I could claim it is because it is a bunch of rich people playing games in the snow, leavened now with a bunch of young surfer-dudes indulging in the winter equivalent of riding the waves on boogie boards, and because poor countries (and poor people in general) are under-represented, etc. But the honest reason is, it's boring.

But that said, Mike Wise in the Post today flagged a nice story that I hadn't heard. Seems that during a cross-country race, Canadian skier Sara Renner had her pole snap. That's a crippling problem -- but seconds after the pole snapped, a man handed her a new pole, and Renner was off and the Canadian won a silver.

The guy who gave her the pole? The coach of the Norwegian team, Bjornar Hakensmoen. Norway finished fourth in the race -- in other words, his act of kindness cost his team a medal. Asked about that, he said "How can you be proud of a medal if you win when someone else's equipment is not working? You have to help." Nobody in Norway cares -- they think Hakensmoen did the right thing. Renner thanked Hakensmoen, who is a little embarrassed at receiving attention. Classy move.

On the less-classy side is (surprise) Barry Bonds. Seems he is requiring a waiver for one-on-one interviews, that the interviews can be used on Bonds' upcoming show on ESPN. ESPN will track his attempt to catch Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron in home runs. I'm a big baseball fan, but I'll skip that one. I hope Bonds' knee gives out completely and he can never swing a bat again. You think it's cruel to root for an injury? In this case, I disagree. Bonds' steroid use is responsible for him having unprecedented increases in his power and hitting numbers after age 35; without them he'd still trail Willie Mays, let alone be close to catching the (alcohol-fueled) Ruth and the clean-living Aaron.