So, the Winter Olympic games officially start today. There's been a pall on these games for a while now considering the host country's anti-gay laws. The situation is only made worse by the fact that Sochi's infrastructure is in no way ready to handle the influx of people and outbound data traffic. It looks laughable and the IOC will have a hell of a time fielding the fallout, I'm sure. I know many people who are boycotting because of the anti-gay laws. Some people are avoiding them because of the poor conditions. Hell, some people are more cynical about it and ignore the games because of the American coverage constantly telling you what to watch and who to root for while Bob Costas tells you this or that heart-warming story. And I understand why all of these reasons would make sense to some people.
But I don't give a shit. I'm in. Even if I disagree with Putin's horrendous policies on human rights, and even if Sochi looks about as put together as Barbie's Dream House at 2am Christmas Morning... I'm never going to boycott the Olympic games.
The whole point of the Olympics is to put political differences aside for a few weeks and celebrate the best of us. The best athletes. The people who have given up "normal" lives to pursue this life that pushes them to their limits. The people who--when muscles are torn or when it's 40 below outside--continue to press on because they can still shave a tenth of a second off their best time. I could never do a triple lutz or a camel spin. But that girl from Russia can. And check out the ski-jumper from Finland...he's flying! Politics, race? Creed? Gender? Sexuality? None of it matters for the next few weeks because the spirit of the Olympiad is to transcend. To embrace the greatness of humanity itself.
Turn off the sound--or embrace technology and find a feed that doesn't have American commentary, it's very enlightening. Swath yourself in the banner of your choice--be it your country's flag or the Pride flag or the fucking flag of Rohan. Celebrate. Cheer. Take joy in the fact that a flame burns despite the fallible humans who lit it. Take a moment to sit in awe of your fellow men and women who have worked so hard to be the best of us--even if the politics represent the worst. Because this is the Olympiad. This is where we can see what a world looks like where there is peace and acceptance and mutual admiration.
Welcome to Sochi, home of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
I'll be watching.