Any mug knows not to do it. You don’t grab a beanbag and the wand of audiovisual entertainment and turn the Olympics on right when you are supposed to be going to bed.

Better than 50 Shades of Grey. Cartoon: Nicholson

Three hours later, your forearm is completely numb from maintaining a ridiculous Roman banqueting type position on the beanbag, you and the dog are both busting, and the prospect of a proper night’s sleep has become theoretical.

But still you stay rooted to the spot - transfixed, save for the occasional agonized groan or eruption of potty-mouthed patriotism. As you watch Australia slowly losing at a minor sport the rules of which are a mystery to you. It is the Olympics.

You finally call it a night when you realise you are about to watch Montenegro play water polo. You have heard of Montenegro, but until then you thought it was an after dinner drink.

It’s not just gay people that can struggle to come out of the closet. One of the hardest things for a young Australian is to stand up and admit that they don’t give a toss about competitive sport.

Once you have come out though, and admitted your disinterest, it’s even harder to explain why, for 2 weeks out of every 208, you still get all fired up about the stuff. Hard to explain why, when you really don’t care about spectator sports, a well-edited video montage of Olympic highlights is making you arm hairs stand on their own podium and can even give you “sweaty eyes”.

We don’t have a bill of rights in Australia, but that doesn’t mean that as a nation we haven’t turned our minds to the important things.  Somewhere, it has been statutorily mandated that in the course of their education all Australian school children will do a project on the Olympics.

Applying the unalterable laws of mathematics this means you may do up to 3 projects on the Olympics in your time. Wearing your green crayon down to an inutile stub, and inadvertently jazzing up the kitchen table with spurts of golden glitter glue in the process.

Maybe it is during these early school experiences that the seeds of our mass enchantment with the Olympics are sown. I like my Ancient Greek history as much as the next person, but I don’t believe it’s the gut-busting story of the original Marathon man or the rich legacy of Olympia that draws us in.

And it’s not the uniforms, because the unalterable laws of aesthetics state that the only thing that looks good dressed in green and gold is a wattle.

Yet, every 4 years we have a new Age of Alightment as everyone gets on board the sportswagon. Maybe it is out of necessity. Otherwise how will you know what the hell everyone else is talking about for a fortnight. Easier just to join in than be a social leper for the duration.

I suspect that the zenith of my lust is behind me and my roving eyes grow dim. Nevertheless, I know buff when I see it. And there is more buff at the Olympics than a shoeshine station.

Certainly James Magnussen seems to be widely appreciated on a number of levels, most of which have nothing to do with goggles. But the Games are like a Baskin & Robbins of buffness. Why follow the crowd? Instead of lining up to pin up James may I recommend something Continental?

I saw the Italian water polo team the other night and they were as fine a sight as anything in the Uffizi. Which is not to say anything about their submarine etiquette. In making this recommendation, I am 100 per cent sexually objectifying these young Italians.

I am also confident that to this extent the team’s agenda and my own are aligned. Yes, perhaps all these shaved down superheroes from across the globe are sufficient reason to get on board.

At the end of the day though anyone can get sucked into the Olympics because, at a certain level, it has nothing to do with sport.  It’s all about assertive behaviour, and satisfying a deep-seated animal desire for hierarchical dominance.  Maybe it’s even a way to sate an otherwise unacceptable taste for international biffo.

And there are the Olympic values too. Unity, integrity, sacrifice, excellence – as fine a list of abstract nouns as you will encounter.

Mmm that crunchy shell of assertive behaviour surrounding a tender centre of the finest values does taste good, and so moreish.

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21 comments

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    • Bertrand says:

      06:20am | 03/08/12

      Generally I would agree with you. But when 9s coverage involves little more than ads interrupted by replays of the same 3 or 4 swimming races and the occasional replay of a rowing race, there’s not much point in watching the Olympics for more than 1/2 an hour - you’ve seen all the 9 is going to show you.

    • Gratuitous Adviser says:

      06:31am | 03/08/12

      All the training, all the hype, all the goodwill is destroyed in one action by the yobbo gold medal winner and contemporary young Australian, Josh Booth. 

      Why is this type of person allowed to represent Australia, or maybe that’s exactly what he is doing?  I’m so proud.

    • M says:

      08:19am | 03/08/12

      To be fair, he didn’t have much of a record of bad behaviour before this, so it’s a little dumb to say “Why is this person allowed to represent aus?”

      He’s representing aus because he’s a good athlete mate. Do you think the olympic selectors can see into the future?

    • Gratuitous Adviser says:

      10:39am | 03/08/12

      M - The % yobbo bell curve in Australia is widening daily. What this Josh whoever fool has done is perpetuate the stereotype which you are ignorantly supporting.  These people should not be allowed further than Bali or Kings Cross and definitely not represent Australia other than in the sport of parental embarrassment and stupidity. 

      The athletes that are in London at the moment are representing their countries and as such, are ambassadors and should act accordingly.  This immature fool should be sent home immediately and never allowed to represent Australia again. 

      However, he will probably be let off with a “tut tut” and then get a standing ovation at the “Church” next Sunday.  Here he will be able to show his class, as so many yobbo Australians do, by spewing all the way back to his Australian taxpayer funded hotel before his taxpayer funded flight back to Melbourne. 

      He has broken the trust.

    • M says:

      10:53am | 03/08/12

      Where did I say I condone his actions? Of course he should be sent home. All I said was it’s stupid to ask “why is he representing us?”

      Herp Derp.

    • P says:

      06:49am | 03/08/12

      Are you watching the Olympics on Nine?

      Are you an apologist for their wall-eyed coverage?

      On the second part of the article: women’s volleyball.

    • Gregg says:

      06:53am | 03/08/12

      ” But still you stay rooted to the spot - transfixed, save for the occasional agonized groan “
      Well, that could help with the nights sleep and if it’s a Montegnegro coming on early, you could even be up early morning for more.

    • thatmosis says:

      07:44am | 03/08/12

      No, no and no again, I don’t care about most sports at all and for two weeks every four years I catch up on my reading and the movies that I have been collecting. Fortunately I am not brain dead enough to sit up for hours and watch drug fuelled so called sport that has no meaning for the majority of people and watch athletes who I don’t know and don’t really care about waste time energy and money competing in a spectacle that has no bearing on the real world. Watching paint dry or grass growing would be more productive and less intrusive on ones life.

    • Gary Cox says:

      10:16am | 03/08/12

      Geez what a killjoy. You sound like a real exciting person to be around. Let me know if you’re free this Sunday and we’ll grab a box of beer, cook some steak on the barbie for lunch then sit down and watch the footy. Or would you rather have a soy latte and a tofu burger, read a book and generalize that all sports people are on drugs just because you were never any good at sport?

    • thatmosis says:

      12:53pm | 03/08/12

      Gee, thanks Gary Cox, that would be great, except I don’t drink and have to play golf on Saturday and Sunday, oh and Monday and Tuesday as well, but thanks for the offer. I enjoy playing certain sports and watching my NRL team play ( no not the Drongo’s, sorry Bronco’s) but cant see the point of all that training being put in when there is a the chance that someone on really good drugs will beat you anyway. The money spent on the games would have been better spent on hospitals or public transport of even cleaning up the streets. Add to this the money wasted by the countries bidding for the games and billions are involved that could be better spent. We are unfortunate enough to have the Commonwealth Games here soon and that will also be a waste of tax payers money.
        Actually I was very good at sport, Rugby Union, Soccer, Table Tennis and Tennis, not to mention Billiards and Snooker and play a mean game of golf, hate lattes and tofu but do read books so one out of half a dozen isn’t bad, I’ll give you a score of 2 out of ten until someone on better drugs makes another inane comment to beat yours.

    • Colin says:

      01:09pm | 03/08/12

      Well said grin

    • Colin says:

      01:16pm | 03/08/12

      Gary Cox 10:16am | 03/08/12
      “...Or would you rather have a soy latte and a tofu burger, read a book and generalize that all sports people are on drugs just because you were never any good at sport?”

      I remember bullies at school saying things like that to me because I liked to read and they didn’t (or, more likely, couldn’t). Funny how the bully remains in the man, no matter how “Civilised” he seems on the outside…

    • Gary Cox says:

      05:52pm | 03/08/12

      Oh for God’s sake Colin, do you want me to get the violin out? I wasn’t the world’s best sportsman either and don’t mind a bit of reading but I just couldn’t believe that thatmosis not only would rather read a book than watch such a great event, not to mention being patriotic, but he/she also wrote off the athletes as being drug fueled which in my opinion showed a great deal of disrespect to our talented, hardworking athletes representing Australia.

      But on another topic you need to get on with your life man, we all come
      across bumps in the road but you just need to keep on trucking, harden up like a real man, don’t hold grudges and get on with it and life will be a lot more joyous.

    • M says:

      07:46am | 03/08/12

      ” It’s all about assertive behaviour, and satisfying a deep-seated animal desire for hierarchical dominance.”

      Really? I thought it was about doing your best.

    • dweezy2176 says:

      08:15am | 03/08/12

      Womens’ Volleyball! Spare me I switched it on the other night and the Aussie team were wearing clothes! Clothes! I ask you, Volleyball is bikinis! How can anyone play the game out of uniform.
      Does anyone one watch Volleyball for the nerve- tingling skills required to participate?

    • Jess says:

      11:01am | 03/08/12

      Volleyball - inside, 8 a side, shorts and singlet
      Beach volleyball - outside 2 a side, form fitting minimal clothes

    • dweezy2176 says:

      08:16am | 03/08/12

      Womens’ Volleyball! Spare me I switched it on the other night and the Aussie team were wearing clothes! Clothes! I ask you, Volleyball is bikinis! How can anyone play the game out of uniform.
      Does anyone one watch Volleyball for the nerve- tingling skills required to participate?

    • pa_kelvin says:

      09:59am | 03/08/12

      Sexually objectifing ...Think Russian Womens Weight-lifting…Okay any womens weight-lifting… smile

    • Oi Oi Oi says:

      10:54am | 03/08/12

      Love it….Foxtels 9 channels….i think i strained a “hammy” in my index finger surfing back and forth.
      Dare i say it…im an Olympics Bogan.
      So when do the Commonwealth Games start?

    • Colin says:

      12:14pm | 03/08/12

      I LOOOOVE the Olympics on TV; it gives me real impetus to turn off the Idiot Box and go do something worthwhile…

    • soon asleep says:

      06:12pm | 03/08/12

      watching the olympics is like taking sleeping tablets!
      you are soon asleep!

 

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