The Winter Olympics came to a close yesterday with all the pageantry one can imagine*, forcing us back into our dull and uninteresting lives suddenly bereft of the beauty of sport.
* - And I'll have to imagine, because I didn't watch the closing ceremonies. I did hear about the inflatable beavers. Next Christmas, my yard will have one.
The Games have a strange effect on society. Suddenly, by the virtue of international competition and unparalleled pageantry, we're strangely drawn to watch sports we'd never consider bearing witness to in a non-Olympic period. Curling. Ice Dancing. Acrostic poetry**.
** - Not actually an Olympic sport. But admit it - you wouldn't be shocked to discover it is.
The Olympics are more than just a sporting event: they're an inspiration for millions of potential young athletes to work their hearts out trying to get good at semi obscure-to-completely unknown sports in an effort to be a part of a sporting event that's irrelevant for nearly four full years in between the two week spans where no one talks about anything else.
Here in Appleton, I witnessed the effect first hand today. At roughly 4 pm, a young, heavy-set boy came home from school, presumably ate an entire box of Twinkies in one sitting, then suddenly remembered his dream: he was going to be the next Shaun White.
So, on a warm winter day not unlike those recently experienced in Vancouver, our young friend ventured outside for what appeared to be the first time in a very long time, positioned himself at the top of his slightly sloping front yard, and stepped onto a snowboard. And, for one brief moment in time, he was Shaun White.
One very brief moment in time.
You see, our friend here mustn't have spent too much time looking at Shaun White's feet. If he had, he might have noticed that White's boots lock into his snowboard, which keeps his snowboard from shooting out from under him and dumping him on his ass.
But, this young man didn't know about these "boots." So he just stepped on the snowboard and started riding...for roughly half a second. Then he leaned back too far, the board shot out from under him, he fell on his ass and the board shot into traffic, smacking squarely into the side of my car.
Today's story has a happy ending: I checked when I got home and my car wasn't damaged, and now I get to write a blog post making fun of a fat kid. But it could have been much worse: If my car had been damaged, I clearly would have blamed Shaun White.
After all, if he hadn't gone out and been so inspirational, this fat, uncoordinated little shit would have stayed inside and played video games like the rest of us did.