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Thursday, March 02, 2006 

The Lumber Yard (3/2)

On Bode
by Slug

While morning java gurgled, I watched Mike and Mike on ESPN2 this morning. They do a thing every week where they pick boneheaded comments from different peeps around the sporting world. They usually put up 4 entries and explain them. The viewers are the ones who decide who is the biggest bonehead of each week. This week, with 70% of the votes, viewers nominated Bode Miller for his comments, "I just want to go out and rock, and, man, I rocked here," Miller told the AP. "I'm comfortable with what I accomplished. I came in here to race as hard as I could. I got to party and socialize at the Olympic level." Apparently, not all see through his eyes.

In fact, they went on to explain what Bode's name stands for: Biggest Olympic Disappointment Ever, B-O-D-E! Shakin' my head with a stupid grin... Oh, and I still haven't made it to joinbode.com - yet.

I got nothing against the guy whatsoever; it just proves how BS the commercialistic Americans are. Bode is having fun. Bode is one of the greatest skiers on the planet. Bode is a stud. Bode has charisma, and that rebel twinkle behind his low-key photographics. We accept his childish behavior in a sport known for crazies. But, apparently the guy isn't feeling too special after the Olympics where he failed other's expectations. When I read between the lines, the guy is a little disappointed in his performance (no matter what he says). That seems to have manifested itself in displacing his internal feelings to projections.

Bode claims that it ain't about winning, and I guess I believe him more and more - to a point. It is hard to see the best say things that downplay winning (unless they win). We are made to believe that winning is what you strive to do...beat the best. If we don't do all we can to prepare to win - why compete? (and this seems to be exactly what Bode is trying to discuss with his Nike commercials - that this attitude/mindset is destructive).

I was brought up believing this, "Play to win." (And I'm not saying this is right at all.) To me, that means giving your all thru preparation and digging deep to focus all of your mind, body, and soul to achieve success when the time comes to compete. Sure, I don't give my all like I could anymore, or used to (I'd be hospitalized), but we expect the world's best to do so as they represent our country on the biggest of stages...and I don't play "competitive" sports anymore, let alone carry hefty contracts and endorsements. Did he give his all? Only Bode knows for sure.

Yet another question is, do we believe him when says he doesn't care about winning and that he is "comfortable" with his Olympic accomplishments? He seemed to attack the course aggressively at times, overly so at other times (DQ'd in 16 seconds in the first of two runs is either way too aggressive, or proving that his ability to flip off a cameraman in a bar while drinking late at night with a former Playboy bunny during the Olympics is all apart of being "comfortable" with his accomplishments), and at the beginning, I think he was standing on skis for parts of his downhill (he should've medalled the downhill but relaxed in the midsection IMO).

Let me say this from my perspective - Bode does make a lot of sense. Winning is definitely not everything. Just because a fat/ugly/handicapped/misfit/whatever kid can't jump or run as good as another, that doesn't mean he/she shouldn't have support to play for the fun of it, the health of it, and the social benefits of it. I totally agree. I think the mainstream media and their jockstraps (that's the sponsors) kill dreams, belittle losers, and take a whole ton of fun out of the games that we play. Games, in essence, were invented for just that, having fun. The win-at-all-costs mentality is still prevalent, and it has never been right. Their are costs, and if they outweigh a win, then it isn't a true win. It has created a whole set of rules that weren't there before that attitude (doping, gambling, salary caps, sponsor guidelines, etc. are just a few that dominate our headlines now), and they have nothing to do with fun.

Getting tubby off the couch is the goal with kids - get them to do anything but play video games and watch non-sports TV. Playing is winning, if you play hard. Showing up for sports as a "social hour" seems to start culling kids right around middle school, and that may be for the best competitively. I played intramural sports in high school and college while playing competitively in other sports. IM sports are great, a riot, and social. There is definitely not enough stress on this part of life thru school. IM sports should be promoted as much as the high school football team. The more out their sweating it up every week - the better. I hear there are kids that don't even take gym class in high school anymore if they don't want to. Hmm, we feed them Coke, Twinkies and pizza in the cafe, don't make them exercise, and they all communicate via text messaging and computer tops. How do you spell obese?

Yea, I digress. But Bode is controversial to say the least. He has fat checks coming in, ripped chicks going down, and he can say whatever the hell he pleases. He lauds his party life, yet it is a clear detriment to top performance, and not a great trait to instill in future athletes. His father, Woody, claims that his comments about skiing "wasted" on 60 minutes were "premeditated." Yet, Bode says he doesn't want publicity. What the hell should we think? I think he is just a party guy who has skills and gets kicks between his bitches n brew by screwing with the media. If Bode really said what he wanted, he would lose big money. The big F-U to NBC would be appreciated, Mr. Miller. C'mon, say it!

Bode jabbed at teammate Darren Rahlves when discussing the disappointments of Team USA in alpine events, "Look at what happened to Rahlves," Miller said. "He was holed up in his RV; he's probably the fittest guy out here, and he made a point of talking about how important the Olympics were to him…. And he's got nothing to show for the whole thing." And Darren responded later to such comments with moralistic toned, "I have way more than Bode has as far as a life, I think. He just goes around trying to look for girls all the time. That's his biggest thing." Hmm, Darren is married, Bode is not. Sounds like a couple of guys sick of answering questions about their lack of success to me. But, Bode will be meeting Paul McCartney soon in Paris, and then playing in a golf Pro Am in Tampa. Oh, and I bet Darren and his dog will go to the park.

[Editor's note: The Lumber Yard is our way of featuring guest writers from around the globe. Today's piece was the first of 2 Olympic wrap-up articles written by the imcomparable Slug.]