Inordinate Ordnance: The Olympics, a new approach from a jaded spectator

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Written by Chris Carr

Inordinate Ordnance is the weekly column of The Cannon Editor-in-Chief, Chris Carr. It ranges in content from political strife to social commentary, from popular culture to cult classical. But it is always aimed at the general stupidity of the world we live in.


Every two years the Olympics comes a-callin’. There’s the excitement of the games, the spectacle of the opening ceremony and the competition—pitting nation against nation like a world war where everybody gets a generous helping of Gatorade afterward.

If I am honest, I don’t care. I have to lurch myself into conversation and fake interest in our one gold medal. I have to be flabbergasted at Michael Phelps’ superhuman achievements. I have to know the name Usain Bolt now. My over-educated side sees a coliseum, bespectacled and designed to take my mind of the problems of the world. Warrior versus warrior, each ready to smite the other on a parallel bar.

This seems to be a popular opinion. We Canadians are relegated to being curmudgeons, as our single gold medal hangs as not an achievement, but a symbol how we look better in winter colours. However, there is a strong following of people who think the games are outdated, lame and all around a waste of money.

And I’ll say, in my infinite callow approach to world affairs, I had the same opinion on the Olympics. I had the usual patriotic glow when Canada squares of against Russia or the USA in the hockey of the winter games. But to say I was lackadaisical about any other event, would be an understatement. I went out of my way to avoid the Olympics and the knuckle-dragging that went along with it. I also  had confidants, who agreed with my assessment of the barbaric games and did the same avoidance of the multi-coloured rings as I did.  

This year, I set off to do the same. I recited the same verses as many of my compatriots about how these aren’t our games anyway and London should figure out it’s own problems before hosting the world in sport. Until, whilst flipping through channels I came across the uneven bars.

The uneven bars, for those who do not know (I’m talking to primarily my past-self) are a set of bars, spaced a few feet apart. One is tall, parallel to the floor and the other bar, is short, also parallel to the floor. Firstly, let’s say that competition isn’t my strong suit. I had never seen the value in beating my fellow man to just another piece of grass, hitting a yarn ball farther or throwing things into other things. I was in band in high school. I played tuba, not outfield.

Anyway, this usual sense of stupidity-in-sport washed over my soft, doughy body (from a life of inactivity) and I began to depress the next channel button. Before I could, a girl, maybe up to my shoulder in height, threw herself into the air off of one of these uneven bars, flipping and grabbing and flipping some more. I was mesmerized. Never has hockey, baseball or football ever held my attention. I found myself inching forward on my seat in hope that this 90 pound girl could stick her landing. She did, I sat back. Until the next competitor sauntered up the monolith of oddly-coupled bars and did it all over again.

That was it, I was hooked. I watch men and women throw themselves through the air, from ring to pommel horse, from springboard to trampoline. It was like watching the circus except I was cheering for one of the acrobats to thrash the other, while holding the pike position on the rings.

We Canadians may not have a dog in the summer games fight, but my god, what a spectacle I have been missing. Every now and then the hipster-over-thinker that turns his eye to the brutality of sport and the fairness of true competition, needs to shut up, grab a foam finger and watch some people do some seriously amazing stuff (once again, I’m talking to you, past-self).

I’m just saying that even a jaded cynic like myself should allow themselves to get caught up in the inertia of the Olympic games. There are so many other things in the world that need fixing, why mess with something that is mostly good.

However, as much as I’d like to wax about Olympic tyranny and the wages of Canadian athletes, I have to go. The rhythmic gymnastics event is about to start. And there isn’t enough ribbon-dancing in my life.


Chris Carr is Editor-in-Chief of The Cannon. Inordinate Ordnance publishes every Thursday in The Cannon and in The Ontarion Student Newspaper at the University of Guelph.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question.

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