Olympic blues

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Without a doubt, this year’s Olympics have been a strange affair, beginning with the fact that they are still called the “2020 Olympics” even though we’re in 2021.

What’s sad, and not just odd, about the games is the low level of interest and struggles we’re seeing with various athletes and teams.

I know that ratings are down 36% and are at their lowest level in decades, perhaps their lowest level, relatively speaking, since widespread TV coverage began.

I know there are several factors: they’re in Japan, where the time zone is the reverse of the US; Covid’s long shadow; the disruption and fragmentation created by new video platforms like Hulu and YouTube, etc.

But I think one important factor is the low level of enthusiasm for our country itself. Americans are currently 55% pessimistic about the future of our country, one of the highest levels ever. And who can blame them?

If you’re on the Left, you’ve convinced yourself that our country is hopelessly racist, homophobic, generally bigoted and a major force of oppression, both at home and abroad. What’s to be proud about?

It must be difficult for disgruntled athletes to have sufficient motivation to endure the suffering and sacrifice required to compete in the Olympics when the country they represent is such a train-wreck. Perhaps that explains the lackluster results of the women’s soccer team and men’s basketball team. Perhaps it even explains Simone Biles’ struggles.

It’s impossible to know such things since we can’t read minds, but God did bless us with reason and logic to understand the world he’s created, and it’s hard not to think that this constant running down of our country wouldn’t have some impact on our athletes’ ability to stay focused and motivated.

As for those of us who do love our country, on both sides of the political spectrum, who acknowledge its flaws but believe, on balance, it is a good nation blessed with more good people and good acts than not, it’s a bit hard to watch the Olympics knowing that many of the athletes disdain the country that made them famous and rich, that often adores them despite their flaws or beliefs.

It’s hard to watch anything which has given itself over, in ways small and large, to the woke movement that now seems to dominate our culture and insinuate itself into every facet of our shared cultural pastimes.

So, it is a difficult Olympics in so many ways, but it need not be quite as bad as it is. Certain actors in our political and media spheres believe that our country is not something to be proud of, not something to celebrate, and not something worth putting aside our political differences to unite a common cause, even if it’s only sports.

I know some of this motivation is heartfelt, unfortunately, but some of it is also calculated since sowing hatred of our country results in votes, ratings, power, and money.

But, the 1980 Olympics suffered under similar clouds of despair but ended up being a source of inspiration as certain teams (go, US hockey!) and athletes (Eric Heiden) won gold medals in spectacular form. Perhaps an ember of hope and encouragement can also emerge from these dour games, and spark renewed pride and affection for this land that I, and many others, dearly love.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

6 COMMENTS

  1. It really hurts your assertion that the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team achieved “lackluster results” when they just won the gold medal. But have no fear, Trey will be back next week with another fact-free letter about his miserable existence caused by someone who takes a differing political stance from his. He NEVER acknowledges misstatements.

  2. I actually counted and this is number ~100 of Treys Op-Ed’s. The general theme just seems to be pure misery, no matter who or what party is in charge, heavily sprinkled with using God as a political pawn.

    No folks, your neighbors with differing opinions are not your enemies. TV ratings aren’t indicative of the state of society. And trying to better your country certainly does not mean you aren’t proud of it – it means we’re a work in progress as we’ve always been and you care.

  3. Not everyone has the time and inclination to watch the Olympics, but in my experience, lots of lefties are supporting our teams! I know some conservatives did NOT support USA women’s soccer, so I wonder how Trey is blaming this lack of support on the left? Plus he seems to be blaming the athletes themselves for not being proud of America when, as Stranger points out, our champs often parade around draped in the flag! This doesn’t make a lot of sense …

    But when does Trey make any sense? Actually, right here:

    “I know some of this motivation is heartfelt, unfortunately, but some of it is also calculated since sowing hatred of our country results in votes, ratings, power, and money,” he says.

    THIS makes sense! The hatred sowed by the Trump administration, and still being sown by Trumps’ followers, IS a blatant grab for votes, power, and money. I don’t think it has much (if anything) to do with the Olympics, but it is certainly true.

  4. This is one of the most bizarre letters composed by that perpetual purveyor of petulance, Trey Hoffman. The performances of most of the greatest athletes on the planet are sullied because television viewership is down this year. But don’t worry, Trey has a plethora of misguided reasons for this paucity of viewers.

    Rounding up the usual suspects, Trey finds that the monolithic political left (described in the most extreme ideology) despises our country, sapping any motivation from the athletes to compete. One could just as easily cite conservative dissatisfaction with the country that refuses to allow them to make it great again and who see violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overthrow an election as culprits. Of course, both of these assertions are ludicrous explanations for what motivates mostly twenty-somethings to perform in events for which they have trained for years.

    And then there are the bizarre misrepresentations of the truth. The men’s basketball team plays for the gold medal and the women’s soccer team earned a medal as well; yet, these achievements are described as “lackluster.” U.S. athletes who routinely parade around draped in the American flag after winning their events are said to disdain their country. Few American Olympians make any money from their participation, even though they have poured years into their training. Does Trey suppose that the javelin thrower comes home to a well-padded nest?

    He ends this jeremiad with the glimmer of hope by citing the 1980 Olympics as an exemplar. This is an curious choice since the United States boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (their Vietnam). Would that we had learned from their mistakes.

    I realize that this mental munchkin is so blinded by extreme ideological prejudice that he can’t make a coherent or logical argument. It’s hard to know whether we should pity him or give him the ridicule he deserves. As a fellow commenter often asserts, every village has its idiot.

  5. Seems like Mr. Hoffman is more concerned with TV ratings than the actual Games and athletes themselves. Had he been tuning in, he would have seen (so far to date) a few WRs and ORs, along with many PBs, going down in track & field. Swimming has produced similar results. And where else can you view “other” sports like weightlifting, water polo, men’s field hockey, fencing, track cycling, Greco-Roman wrestling, etc. outside the Olympics every four years, or fifth year in this case?