The Olympics started in 776 B.C.E. as a way of testing strength and endurance and if the gods of Olympus wanted to bestow blessings on the winner they wouldn’t say “no”. They only had a few events compared to the modern Olympics… even fewer if you don’t count some of them. Basically, the events were the skills one needed to thrive in Ancient Greece: Running, leaping, fighting, riding and throwing heavy metal frisbee for some reason. The metal frisbee, called a “discus” because people talked about it a lot, probably inspired the fighting sports of the Olympics: If I were at the beach sunning myself and one of those landed in my lap, I’d definitely be inspired to scrap with whoever threw it.
These games continued until the end of the fourth century A.D. when Theodosius the First decided that the games were pagan and canceled them. Apparently, he felt that Christ wasn’t as impressed by a four minute mile or how far you could throw the metal frisbee. For a long time, nothing happened; then, the games were revived in 1870, in an attempt to distract from the fact that gyros were made out of mixture of goats, cats and highly seasoned footwear. The rest of the world took notice and, by 1896 twelve nations had gotten together to compete, athletically.
Added to the existing events were sailing, fencing, shooting and gymnastics—all the skills one would use in 1896 Europe if one were Errol Flynn. The games went off without a hitch, except for sailing, which required them. But, clouds of war loomed on the horizon, pregnant with the rain of death, the thunder of conflict and tornadoes of blowing stuff up. In such a world, the next two Olympics had to be scaled down considerably. They were actually held at world fairs or expos. There were few competitors and much confusion. The winner of the decathlon in 1904 had no idea he’d even entered the event and was actually just trying to muscle a trunk onto a cart.
Today, the Olympic games have evolved into a wonderful way for all the nations of the world to come together for the purpose of preempting all the TV shows that I like for a few weeks. Along the way, they’ve adopted some events that really don’t belong.
Synchronized Swimming: Here’s a simple test for determining is something is a real sport: If you are a gold medal weight-lifter, you are the “strongest man in the world”. If you are a gold medal swimmer, you are “the fastest swimmer in the world”. If you win a gold medal in synchronized swimming, you are “some geek in a diving cap and nose plugs”.
If you are a Synchronized Swimmer, you’ll say something like, “Sure I was just sinking with my leg sticking out of the water; but, I did it at the same time as everyone else on my team”. Unless you are in a boy band or the Marines, you shouldn’t be doing anything in unison with anyone else. Conformity is hardly a sport.
Badminton: Badminton was created by the British along with cricket to give the indigenous peoples of their colonies something to do besides attack them and make their own salt. Example of a badminton injury is being shot in the leg while playing badminton.
Water Polo: Most of the cast of that Blind Melon music video with the bee girl, bobbing up and down in a pool of water. Oh, and they have a ball.
Trampoline: The bulk of America’s trampolines are situated behind the bulk of America’s double-wide trailers. Because the trampoline is a pastime of the lower middle-class in this country. Trampolines aren’t cheap; however, most trampoline owners acquired them through suing the previous owner of the trampoline… usually for some injury to a teenager who was trying to jump from the roof of the trailer, to the trampoline and onward to the above-ground pool. But, does this make it less attractive as a sport? Yes.
Marathon: Yeah, I know the marathon is named for the battlefield from which a messenger ran to report a victory and died in that effort; but, we have cell phones, now. And, I know there are benefits to abusing your emaciated wiry little bodies; but using a marathon to get a runner’s high like using the Stockholm Syndrome to make new friends.
Golf: Another test of what qualifies as a sport is how much alcohol do most of its players use when playing. If the answer is “some”, and you get to ride around in a little car, it is NOT a sport. Plus, no sport should have their own slaves. You don’t see rhythmic gymnasts wandering onto the performing area with a little guy in a cap carrying their ribbon on a stick.
Table Tennis: A sport played in one’s basement? On a table? What’s next? Olympic Scrabble? Seriously, is that next because I’d watch Olympic Scrabble… provided the players used caddies.
Beach Volleyball: As if regular volleyball wasn’t erotic enough, they decided to make them play in their underwear.