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  1. @Brett.. and if I didn’t absolutely agree with you about the value of hobbies in contributing to the grander spirit and value of my existence I’d probably be doing something other than writing drivel in a blog while waiting to go home and cook a delicious meal and get ready to go running tomorrow.

    “That these hard, quantitative metrics are the ways by which we should judge all action.”

    It shouldn’t be, but then when was the last time you were paid for one of your hobbies? I was attempting (probably poorly) to argue from a completely rational perspective, and in a society that largely only accepts cash as payment for goods and services and wealth as a measure of success, that has to be the rational starting point for judging the relative saneness of any pursuit.

    As for ascribing shallow motivations to athletes… Yes, maybe an over-simplification and there are undoubtedly exceptions. But I think (a) such lofty, achievement-based goal setting is very common in my experience in every sport and (b) I’m due to remain very cynical for a very long about the motivations of anyone who gets a paycheck from their so-called passions.

  2. @Brett re: the hard-core corporate comment…

    I’m not against corporate involvement. But everything within reason.

    It’s been quite garish, and my beef was mostly with the shut-out corporate politics. Not only was there advertising, it was the usurping of the activities by advertisers. Like I said, we went to the torch relay and they took either cash or VISA. Period. Full stop. It wouldn’t have been tough to set up a debit service or something, but no: shut-out. I’m surprised they we’re accepting cash that was something besides the Olympic collector coins.

  3. “in a society that largely only accepts cash as payment for goods and services and wealth as a measure of success, that has to be the rational starting point for judging the relative saneness of any pursuit.”

    And in this I must disagree. The presumption, here, is that for an action to be “rational” there must be “payment”. By this measure, philanthropy is foolish, as is any other form of altruism. And I think it’s clear that society looks positively upon altruistic acts.

    Note, I’m not stating athletes are participating in altruistic acts. Quit the opposite, in fact. Their rewards come in other forms (and yes, a sense of self-worth and satisfaction *is* a reward). I’m simply saying that your “rational perspective” is far too limited a way to judge any act, and falls far short of the way “society” judges the acts of individuals.

    “(a) such lofty, achievement-based goal setting is very common in my experience in every sport”

    Well of course it is. Everyone needs goals. But I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that your average skeleton racer (just to pick one example) isn’t thinking to himself “this is the path to fame and riches, baby!”.

    “(b) I\’m due to remain very cynical for a very long about the motivations of anyone who gets a paycheck from their so-called passions.”

    Interesting… so, what about authors paid for their work? Or painters or photographers who sell their pieces? Musicians whom people pay to perform?

    Paycheques and passions are not, by definition, exclusive. In fact, I’d say it’s only the luckiest among us for whom the two end up going together. Heck, I’m one of the lucky few who actually has a job doing something I’m passionate about… it’s just that what I’m specifically doing, right now, is rather dull, which is why I’m spending time writing comments on your blog rather than attacking the problem I have set before me (stupid reporter… *sigh*).

  4. “Like I said, we went to the torch relay and they took either cash or VISA. Period. Full stop. It wouldn\’t have been tough to set up a debit service or something, but no: shut-out. I\’m surprised they we\’re accepting cash that was something besides the Olympic collector coins.”

    Good grief… that really is horrible. :)

    “I\’m surprised they we\’re accepting cash that was something besides the Olympic collector coins.”

    Sssshhhhh! Don’t give them ideas!

  5. You are lucky to have such a job. ;) They’re rare.

    “so, what about authors paid for their work? Or painters or photographers who sell their pieces? Musicians whom people pay to perform?”

    Yup. Cynical. But I’m just a stone-hearted, dickish kind-of guy. I swallowed the red pill bud, and it ain’t pretty out here.

  6. steve

    I miss Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican Bobsled team. They were what made the games great. Against all odds, they showed up a gave a good fight. Not pumped up professionals masquerading as amateurs in a blatantly biased game (see: USA Olympic Basketball Team, The).

  7. @steve : Now if John Candy were still around, he’d lighten the mood. RIP.

    I wanted to add that I did watch the last few ice dancing folks last night and saw Canada’s gold medal win there. That kind of sportsmanship shown by all three finishing pairs was awesome.

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