Strange things happen to folks during the Olympics.
People who have trouble remembering the words to O Canada become super-patriots and start trying to be the first person to tweet the results of short-track speed skating to their 11 followers.
Sports that wouldn’t draw a crowd if you offered free beer and half-price coupons for chicken wings and hookers are suddenly the object of intense passion.
I know people who, two months ago, couldn’t spell luge.
Today, thanks to 20 minutes with Wikipedia, they are now pontificating away like experts.
Luge is the kind of sport that happens if you were to:
1. Gather a bunch of 12-year-old daredevils with a blithe indifference to consequence.
2. Give them an unlimited budget and zero adult supervision.
3. Hand each of them an old-school Flexible Flyer and say: “Hey kids. See if you can make this more dangerous.”
And skeleton is what happens when one of those daredevil 12-year-olds says: “Hey, now that we’ve invented luge, I think I can make it even more insane.”
“Four words: Head. First. No. Brakes.”
“You’re a god.”
But the most annoying thing about the Olympics — apart from fake experts — is that it never gets to be just about the Olympics.
Every four years, millions are disturbed to discover different countries are … well … different.
I always considered the Olympics to be the ultimate in engagement.
A way for humans across the globe to come together on the field of sport, often as the only thing we had in common.
But for North Americans, now it’s a chance to come together to feel morally superior.
Some kid from Canada felt the weight of that insane sanctimony when the leader of the country hosting the Olympics came to Canada House in Sochi and she had her picture taken with Vladmir Putin.
The LGBT community, always pleading for understanding and compassion, turned on speedskater Brittany Schussler with all the understanding and compassion of feral dogs.
They seemed to hold her personally accountable for Putin’s attitude toward gays, a tremendously unfair attack on a kid representing her country whose only crime was being gracious to her host.
And speaking of feral dogs, Sochi apparently has a feral dog problem.
Well. Had a feral dog problem.
Because you can’t have packs of starving wild dogs wandering around taking chunks out of tourists, the Russians hired guys to kill the dogs before the games.
I read one Facebook post claiming the dog cull was indicative of the harsh, inhumane reality of civil society in Russia because a society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable creatures.
Killing a feral dog, in Russia or Canada, is not nor should it be considered a crime.
If you think it is, it’s not because you have a big heart, it’s because you have an empty head.
You know who gets to worry about the fate of the poor widdle doggies?
Privileged Westerners who’ve run out of first-world problems.
The kind of twits who shun the word “pet” because it implies ownership and an unequal relationship and prefer the term “companion animal.”
People who don’t have a per capita income of $14,000 a year, like the Russians.
Who don’t have an infant mortality rate twice as high as ours … like the Russians.
Who have a life expectancy that has yet to hit 70 years … and that actually declined last year.
Like the Russians.
It’s easy to be morally superior with a full belly and a fat bank account and babies that live.
Before the next Olympics, it’d be nice if we remembered that other cultures have different values.
But it’ll never happen. In 2018, the Winter Olympics are in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In Sochi, dogs were in the crosshairs.
In Korea, they’re on the menu.
I can hear the shrieks of outrage already.
Sorrow over stray dogs at Sochi Olympics boggles the mind | Columnists | Opinion | Calgary Sun