August 1, 2012

London, Baby!

For those of you who got that this post's title is a reference to Joey on Friends, give yourselves 10 points. :) For everyone else, you really need to brush up on your '90's pop culture!

Last Friday night the world watched (1 billion of us, as per NBC's Matt Lauer) as Danny Boyle's take on the history and significance of the British Isles unfolded in what turned out to be a good-not-great 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. The music was intense, the theatrics were...well, theatrical, and if it hasn't been for Meredith Vierra's incessant commentary I probably wouldn't have understood what I was watching. For whatever reason, my mind kept wandering back to "that Pan's Labrynth director" and the wonderfully weird spectacle my bizarre mind desired to experience only to have my hopes squished under the realization that we were, in fact, dealing with Slumdog Millionaire's director....which is a very different movie in very important ways.

Matt and I agree that our favorite part of the ceremony was the transformation from the agrarian period into the industrial revolution. I thought it had a very Les Miserables feel to it, and it pretty much sent a chill through my entire body. Well done Mr. Boyle.

Can we all just take a moment and acknowledge how incredibly _____ (insert synonym for 'stupid' here) it was when her Royal Majesty, Elizabeth, Queen of England, "jumped" from a helicopter with none other than James Bond and parachuted into the arena for her grand entrance? Not the evening's finest moment. Yes, I know it wasn't the queen who jumped out of the helicopter. I do find it risky, though, to put the queen and James bond on the same flight, however, I mean what I'd something had happened to the both of them?!

As I was watching the Parade of Nations, I found myself in awe of the athletes from Syria. They were there from a war-torn country, showing support for their homeland, and it was very moving for me to see the athletes make such a hopeful presence, despite the tragedies that are occurring in their country. What a true showing of the Olympic spirit--hopefulness, unity, and good old-fashioned competition.

I have no idea as to the history of the USA athlete's previous uniforms that they have donned in opening ceremonies past, however, I did feel that it was a ridiculous party-foul when it was reported that the designer of the team uniforms, Ralph Lauren, had used garments that were made in China. It's so typical of what this country is known for, and although Mr. Lauren promised to only use made-in-America uniforms "next time", we'll just have to wait and see. If there was ever a time where it was important for representatives for the USA to be wearing clothing made in their own country, the Olympics are certainly it.

Now, let's talk about the cauldron lighting. How sweet was it to have the 7 young athletes who symbolized the next generation of Olympians light the cauldron? Not very. I personally felt that it was very "hunger-games", which I'm sure was not the intent, but that book truly ruined that moment for me, I must say. Anyway, I just hope these kids realize the honor that they were given, and that they strive as athletes, citizens of their countries, and members of the human race to live up to that honor. The next generation of nearly everything in this world is a treasured facet of growth and as cliche as it sounds, it truly is where the future of mankind lies. 

I was definitely disappointed that the cauldron was kept so low within the stadium. It has always been a great symbol of what the Olympics stand for to display the Olympic flame where it can be seen by all throughout the duration of the games. Whether you consider it a light of hope for peace and unity across all nations on this earth, a symbol of warmth and acceptance, or even if you're a it's-just-a-giant-ball-of-fire type of person, having the flame set atop a high perch is something that just needs to happen at the Olympics. It just does.

Just how old is Paul McCartney these days? My goodness! I wonder if he felt insulted that before he came on, the audience was being serenaded by a Beatles cover-band. Perhaps he was grateful that he wasn't asked to play all of those songs. I mean, after all, singing Hey Jude for what felt like 20 minutes has got to take a lot out of you, right?

It wasn't the Super Bowl, but I did enjoy the commercial advertising the kickoff of the NFL season in September featuring Petyon Manning with the Broncos. Now THAT got me excited! 

I heard the next day that NBC took a lot of flack for not airing the ceremonies live. Normally this wouldn't have been a big deal for me, but as I now live in the Eastern Time Zone, I felt that I was up so late! I'm torn as to whether or not I enjoy sports in this time zone better or worse than my old home of the Mountain Time Zone--it means that I don't have to miss any of the early NFL game by attending church, but it does mean I have to stay up later at night to catch the end of the Sunday and Monday night games. Eh, in a perfect world, huh?

So there you have it, my thoughts and opinions on the 2012 Olympic opening ceremonies. 

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