The Queen wasn’t planning to talk about the Olympics until our brunch this weekend. However with the closing night ceremonies still fresh in my mind, and dealing with a moping Bianca (obsessed with the Games) now going through withdrawal, I thought I’d spend a few moments sharing with you what I learned over two weeks of The Games.
5 Things I Learned From The Olympics
5. Cocky Ain’t Cocky if you can Back It Up
I’ve had several friends poo-pooing Michael Phelps for his attitude during competition and interviews. Personally I think for what this young man has achieved at 27, he is relatively humble. And other than a wild party from time to time comports himself with appropriate dignity. Similarly, the Queen’s diva friends took issue with Felix Sanchez’s display after winning the 400m hurdles. I look at it the same way I do when I see a woman wearing an over-the-top hairstyle or flamboyant ensemble: If she’s got attitude and carries it off? Three snaps in a circle. If she doesn’t, then we talk about her all the way home in the car ride from the mall.
These two men (among MANY others) have achieved milestones in their sports and have earned their place in Olympic history. Confidence is sexy. Saying what you’re going to do, and then backing it up is even sexier. When the haters can do what these guys can do…then we’ll talk.
4. Black folk can do more than Track & Field and Basketball.
In NO way to dis my Track and Field brethren and sisteren. Without the likes of Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix,Christian Taylor, Aries Merritt, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams and many others we wouldn’t have had some of most incredible moments of the games (and the U.S. would have been in third place in the medal count). But it is also nice that the world sees that we exist in other sports as well. The world at large gets to broaden their concept of Black Americans, and Black Americans get to confirm their varied interests and possibilities.
which brings us to:
3. After All Of These Years Since the Emancipation Proclamation, Black People Are Still Fucked In The Head With A Horrible Self Image.
Gabby Douglas. The girl (I refuse to call a 16-year-old a woman no matter what the Olympic Committee says. Let her be a girl a little longer) does what no black gymnast has done in the history of the Olympics and all you can focus on is her hair?
I’ve had my Black Card revoked so many times that it doesn’t matter any more. But we’ve GOT to air our dirty laundry or it ain’t never gonna get clean. The Queen has to admit that he joked about all of the barrettes she was using during the competition. It should be noted, however, that her teammates also sported similar hair accoutrements. I said something to Bianca like: “Oooh now that she’s America’s Darling she needs to get a weave, or something.” But I swear it was joking. I couldn’t have been prouder of her skill, grace and beauty if she’d been my daughter. When I found out that folks were on social networks dissing her appearance I was livid. So white people, now you know: we can’t stand ourselves. If you want to see what years of internalized oppression look like? Look at these generations of Ham.
2. People can still surprise you.
You’d think that going into the next half of a century there would be little that would surprise this Queen. However the record for attendance at the Women’s Soccer final did. It’s not that I don’t recognize the fact that the world loves itself some soccer. It’s not that the sales of tickets skyrocketed after two incredibly exciting matches going into the final. It’s that gender seemed to be a non-issue. Europeans love their football, and that’s all that mattered. Two spectacular teams were battling it out for top honors and everyone wanted to be there to see what happened.
And the #1 thing I learned from the Olympics:
1. Some People Will Label You A Failure Before You Even Try. Screw ‘Em: Do It Anyway.
Maybe it was just because it was a slow news cycle, but the press surrounding the G4S Security debacle got on the Queen’s nerves. Would the games in London be an epic fail? Would logistical nightmares and player banning be the UK 2012 Game’s legacy? Would David Beckham show up shirtless, at least once???!!!
Well they bloody well showed us.
Except for the David Beckham thing, dang it.
Not only were the games successful (of course we’ll have to see how much is recouped after all is said and done), they were magical. It is the one time–other than natural disaster–when the planet seems to come together just a little and find the humanity in humanity. Sure there are wars and unrest still going on in seemingly every part of the globe, but there also seems to be camaraderie and good-hearted competition. We all walk around asking “How are WE doing in the games?!!!” We. Like most of us could even GET on a balance beam or swim one lap in an Olympic-sized pool. Yet we find a reason to cheer. As in Ancient Times, Olympians become the true heroes of our society. They prove over and over the unbridled spirit of human possibility and promise. I feel better about myself knowing that I share DNA with these mortals who, for one moment in time (you know what’s coming after the break) become immortal.