There are defining moments in life that can forever change one’s outlook on the world — or, at the least, one aspect of that person’s world.
For instance, being wronged in love can forever paint the way one views romance. Getting mugged can alter the way somebody views a once-routine walk home from work. Seeing your parents kiss at the breakfast table can forever shift the way one views eating. My God, I remember one time, when I was about 10 ...
But I digress.
We can grow cynical over the course of time because, quite frankly, we’ve seen enough to make us that way. The older we get, and the more we experience over the years, the more doubt we cast on things we once viewed as rock-solid. Christmas. Birthdays. The Fat Boys. Those things just don’t carry as much “magic” as they once did for many of us.
I was once easily entranced by many things. The magic of walking through the concourse and into the stands of a Major League Baseball game was always awe-inspiring to me. I would stare open-mouthed at the green field and baseball heroes before me and all seemed possible in the world. Now when I approach the field of play, my eyes scan the players to try to determine just who might be on steroids, or who crashed their Italian sports car the night before.
There was a time when I considered politicians to just flat-out be better than the rest of us. They were the best of the best, and we were fortunate enough to have leaders so far beyond reproach that the rest of the world was surely jealous.
Yeah. That’s gone, too.
As I write this column I am one week away from my next birthday. That was once the beginning of a week-long case of insomnia and lack of appetite because I was so excited for that one day of the year that was uniquely “mine.” Now? You can keep the candles and presents. Wait. No, presents are still fun.
You’d think that all of these experiences of being disillusioned would cause me to not embrace things anymore, right? Wrong. I’m still a sucker for causes that I view as being “right.” I still want to have faith in the premise that there are people who are better than the rest of us. I still have hope.
But that hope took a little bit of a beating again this week.
Word came down from the Badminton World Federation that eight Olympic badminton players have been booted from the London Games because they were purposely trying to lose matches in early rounds to gain a more favorable draw later in the tournament.
Et tu, badminton players?
Actually, I’m being a little sarcastic on this one, as I compare competitive badminton to competitive, well, badminton. Isn’t that a game that is popular to play at cookouts? In the 1970s? The popular sports humor Web site SportsPickle tweeted the following on Wednesday morning:
“The Badminton World Federation has expelled 8 players from the Olympics for trying to lose. Yes, there is a Badminton World Federation.”
I really didn’t set out to make fun of competitive badminton. I think the phrase “competitive badminton” does that for itself. I do respect all the athletes at the Olympics because they are better in their respective fields than anybody else in the world. Hence them being in the Olympics in the first place. And though it took me a while to get my head wrapped around the idea of badminton being an Olympic sport, it is. And people apparently care.
“It’s so disappointing for the people who came to see it,” Tina Button, of Ashford, England, told CNN. “It leaves a bit of a sour taste.”
Yes, I’m sure that the crowd in the stands for the early rounds of the badminton tournament were frustrated by the obvious lack of effort by the athletes from South Korea, China and Indonesia. Apparently, the badmintoneers were so obvious in their attempts to lose that they were booed by the spectator(s?) during the matches. This might cause them to lose fans to lawn darts.
I just don’t know what to believe in anymore.