Watching the Olympics
We are not boycotting the Olympics. I know a lot of people are for various reasons, and I fully support that move if it feels right to you. Despite Russia’s war on LGBT rights, we are watching the Olympics. Not watching them on NBC affects NBC and the athletes more than it affects Russia itself. Russia, in the case of my viewing, is unreachable in terms of a boycott. So we sat through the opening ceremony last night, cheering on the US team and the Israeli team. And the Wolvog and ChickieNob decided they would cheer along any team with a low number of participants in order to help them feel welcome. So we were cheering on Jamaica and Andorra from our bed.
It is an odd Olympics because it feels so fraught. Beyond the anti-LGBT laws, there is this looming threat of violence that makes me keep skittishly picking up my phone to check for a CNN alert. There was such a strange tension watching the opening ceremony; feeling like we were all holding our breath while those women walked ahead of the athletes in their strange cage-like outfits, holding the name of the country.
On average, a person will get maybe 20 Winter Olympics in their lifetime, and that’s only if they reach old age. They won’t remember the first one or two. They may not be fully cognizant of the last one or two. They’ll miss a year here or there due to travel or work or children being born. So maybe they get 15 chances to consciously watch this. And then we’re off this earth. And the next generation gets their 15 chances.
Sochi is one where the twins and I overlap. Where they are seeing one of their 15, and I’m seeing one of my 15. So it felt heavy last night, holding onto this moment in history together, knowing how painful this particular space is for so many people, knowing how loved this particular space is for so many people. And feeling caught in between it all, caged, because we feel as if we can’t miss it and look away.
We’ll be watching again from 8 pm to 11 pm tonight. (The whole schedule is here if you need a printable version.) Maybe you’ll be watching the same events too. Because that is the flip side of the divisive nature of these particular Olympics; there is also the idea of us coming together, watching the very same thing, cheering on the very same people at the very same time. Peace in whichever route you take.