Let the Games Begin [wheeze] | Sojourners

Let the Games Begin [wheeze]

Are you an Olympian? No, seriously, as you sit there in your comfortable chair—or, as our reader surveys have indicated, on that special seat in the bathroom—are you ready to represent your country competing against the world’s greatest athletes? I can see the doubt in your face, not to mention that thickening middle which suggests a marked dearth of world records. (I also noticed a bottle of Head & Shoulders shampoo to your left. Are we having a little problem?)

If not actually competing in the XXIX Olym­piad—which is Italian for either the 29th or 219th Olympics—then at least you’re doing your patriotic duty by watching this year’s Games on television, cheering on the U.S. teams as they compete in China, where the air is thick with anticipation, not to mention car exhaust and industrial pollution, which, depending on your perspective:

• make the city’s air almost unbreathable, or

• to quote the Beijing Chamber of Commerce, “it’s not smog, it’s a lavender twilight that whispers, ‘Take off that surgical mask my love, romance is in the air.’” (If U.S. athletes don’t bring home the gold at least they’ll return with headaches and shortness of breath. Win or lose, they’ll always have their X-rays.)

Air quality aside, China should be commended for emerging from decades of totalitarianism to finally join the family of nations, bringing together the varied cultures of the world, and then TOTALLY kicking their butts in ping-pong. And regardless of the athletic outcomes of the games, China’s generous actions as host will long be remembered in the words engraved on the Olympic torch, words that eloquently capture the true spirit of international competition: “Tibet Is Ours. (And the Dalai Lama is a Poopie Head.)”

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Sojourners Magazine September/October 2008
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