Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘patriotism’

Sochi and All Things Russian

The excitement of Opening Ceremonies is just hours away.

Check out www.wsj.com/sports and type “opening ceremony bingo” into the search box. You’ll see a list of All Things Russian – 25 iconic images. You can even play Bingo with the images.

Every four years, I tell myself to ignore the media hype, the done-too-often Up Close and Personal sagas of athletes’ struggles to reach their dreams, the almost frantic attempts to heighten the drama. I much prefer to let the competitions reign – pure and simple athlete vs. athlete.

There has been a lot of talk about the lack of readiness at this late date – hotels with inadequate facilities, difficulties with transporting spectators, Sochi not being quite up to “the standards” of other host cities.

Mitt Romney, who presided over the Salt Lake City Winter Games, said it best in an interview last night. To paraphrase: “the games – and the focus of the preparations –  should be about the athletes, their safety, their comfort and their competition. Spectators and tourists must remember they are visiting another country; one which might not be able to accommodate them with the same quality found in their own country. In addition, Sochi is in a remote part of Russia and was not a hub that was modernized even before it became an Olympic site.”

Of course that begs the question why Sochi was selected; that’s for others to answer. Nevertheless, Mr. Romney is right. As long as Sochi takes good care of the athletes and their competitions, they have prepared well.

Let the Games begin!

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Class Acts at the Super Bowl, Part 1

So my Denver Broncos got soundly spanked in the Super Bowl.  Heartsick, I couldn’t even watch the game after that disastrous first 10 seconds, hereafter known in Bronco lore as The Snap.

After seeing the Seattle vs. San Francisco playoff game, I knew we didn’t stand a chance if Seattle was “on” on Super Bowl Sunday.

Seriously, did all the sports forecasters forget the stats accumulated over decades of titanic football clashes? A strong defense will, with few exceptions, prevail over a strong offense (and they’ll beat the crap out of an admittedly discombobulated offense).

In spite of the cruel loss, this Super Bowl left me with two breath-taking moments I will long cherish.

First:  Renee Fleming

I don’t know who selected her to sing the Star Spangled Banner, but let’s immediately put that person in charge of all decisions by the federal government for the rest of 2014.

What a Class Act she is. No pun intended because choosing a classically-trained opera soprano was an unusual choice, given how relatively few Americans listen to classical music or attend operas.

To have her perform such a joyful, honest rendition of our national anthem; to have her dress so beautifully in modest, unadorned clothing; to have her celebrate the magnitude of that patriotic song in such simple, soaring splendor is something I will remember for a very long time.

Tomorrow: Class Acts at the Super Bowl, Part 2

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