I am nothing if not a huge Olympics fan. I can remember watching every Olympics back to 1988 in Seoul when the roid-racing Ben Johnson blew everyone away with a 9.79 in the 100m dash. He was disqualified after testing positive for stanozolol three days later. But I was in love -- not with Ben Johnson, but with the Olympics.
So naturally I was stoked for this year's games in Beijing. I've been able to watch a lot of the events because this month I've got a great schedule. Overall, I have been really happy with the way things have gone, but I do have a couple of beefs with Beijing.
1) Chinese gymnasts being replaced with prepubescent cyborgs. Olympic policy is that the athletes must turn 16 during the year of competition, and if you've seen these Chinese girls, you know that such cannot possibly be the case. The girls produced Chinese passports "proving" their legal age, but the world smells a rat. Just a few days ago, I found an article, published earlier this year, on the Chinese government's OWN NEWS WEBSITE stating that gymnast He Kexin was 13 years old. That article has since been removed from the site. Basically, the Chinese government just told the world, "These aren't the droids you're looking for."
2) I am in absolute awe of Michael Phelps. To do what he has done, with all the pressure on him, is phenomenal in the truest sense of the word. I love sports because I love finding out who will wilt under the pressure and who will come through. He reminds me of Michael Jordan: the perfect combination of talent and the will to dominate.
So where's the beef? Well, I heard a few people say this past week that it "would be good for swimming and for Michael Phelps" if he lost. Uh, no. This is an example of when people just say things to get attention but have no clue what they're talking about. How, exactly, would it be good for swimming? The more Phelps does, the more attention he brings to the sport. Losing his bid for eight golds would have brought less attention, not more. His story is now everlasting, and will capture the imagination of more children and get them in the pool because people will still be talking about it for years and decades to come.
And what of this nonsense that it "would be good for Phelps" if he lost? It's true that defeat early in an athlete's career can provide motivation for later greatness. But Phelps already did that -- four years ago in Athens, the first time he tried for 8 golds in one Olympics. Beijing represented the last attempt at something of this magnitude, so what purpose would defeat have served? To fire him up to nail down 4/4 golds next time? I don't buy it. Go come up with some other weightless argument, maybe something about how it's actually good for America to get fatter, or how Lucky Charms are neither lucky nor charms.
3) The Opening Ceremonies were great, until I found out that some of the fireworks may have been about as authentic as Panda Express. Also, the cute little girl who sang the song was lip-synching; apparently the real singer wasn't attractive enough for TV, and was relegated to singing off camera. That sends a great message, don't you think? "Kids, you may have loads of talent on the inside, but it's what's outside that counts." Imagine the backlash if this happened in America. . . .
Joba Chamberlain, New York Yankee pitching phenom, received some sobering news Tuesday evening regarding his recent shoulder injury.
Chamberlain, 22, left Monday night's game against the Texas Rangers in the 6th inning complaining of shoulder pain. After an MRI in Arlington, Chamberlain flew to Alabama to be examined by
the world-famous orthopedic surgeon and noted arm injury expert Dr. James Andrews. After conducting a thorough examination and additional imaging studies, Dr. Andrews concluded that the only appropriate treatment would be amputation.
"Joba's pitching shoulder is damaged beyond hope. He's done irreparable harm to it by throwing that famed 100-mph gas of his. Thing is, if I just take the right arm, he might learn to throw lefty and then ruin that shoulder, too. So I've decided to just go ahead and cut off both of them."
Upon hearing the news, Chamberlain immediately inquired as to how long it would take for his arms to grow back so he could pitch again.
"I didn't even know what to say," said a mystified Dr. Andrews.
Chamberlain has drawn heavy criticism this year for his excessive celebrations and head-hunting pitching style. Many in the media are already wondering if this injury represents some sort of karma.
"I've seen him pump his meaty little fists after striking out some no-name in the second inning," commented a Boston Globe sportswriter who wished not to be identified. "I guess that won't be happening anymore."
Prior to Dr. Andrews' bombshell, many figured Chamberlain would simply miss a start or two; most anticipated he would be back in time for a potential Yankee playoff run. But no one could have foreseen this.
"First Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy (two other highly acclaimed New York pitchers) stink up the joint, and now our one good starter has to have his arms cut off," quipped Brian Cashman, the team's general manager. "Fortunately for us, we're the Yankees. We'll get some more arms from small-market teams strapped for cash." When asked which pitchers he was considering acquiring, Cashman clarified, "No, I mean arms as in actual arms. We don't want the whole pitcher, we just want everything from the shoulder to the fingertips."
Chamberlain has a 2.63 ERA and a 4-3 record this season.
This is my daughter, Madeline, getting her game face on. Note: her hair is actually light brown, not red. Anyway, we're getting ready to follow game 4 in the post-Manny Red Sox era. The first three games have been wins, and we've got high hopes for tonight.
The Red Sox are not the topic of this post, however. The topic is my daughter's growing dexterity. She's figured out how to take her pacifier out of her mouth and how to put it back in. The other day, she was doing this very thing while also playing with her stuffed hippo. I noticed a rather objectionable behavior, and said the following:
"Madeline, pacifier doesn't go in hippo's bum."
Malerie, sitting nearby, started choking with laughter and very nearly spat her milk out all over the place.
I grew up in Holladay, Utah. I graduated from Brigham Young University. I've been married since June 2005 to an amazing woman. I have one daughter, Madeline, and she is the best. I have a son as well -- Charlie -- and he is also the best. It works out mathematically, trust me.