Tuesday, February 21, 2006

All That Fuss, No Gold



Well, that was disappointing, eh?

After all the squabbling and bickering and general spite, neither Shani Davis nor Chad Hedrick came away with a gold medal in the 1500. Davis got the silver, Hedrick the bronze, and the rest of the world got to laugh at the funny Americans who were too busy giving dirty looks to each other to notice that Enrico Fabris of Italy was faster than the both of them.

Which is probably fitting.

First, let me apologize for my earlier post which questioned Davis' decision not to race in the team pursuit. At the time, I assumed that these guys must train together a la track athletes. Or something like that. I thought that Davis had left his teammates hanging by waiting until he arrived in the Olympic village to inform them that he was no longer interested in the event. Of course, a general lack of knowledge concerning most things, particularly anything involving the wearing of tights, has never stopped me from commenting before, even if it means eventually apologizing, so there you go. I was wrong.

It turns out, the United States speed skating federation is run by monkeys who travel all the way to the Olympics without any clue as to who will be doing what events. How is this possible? How do you arrive in Italy still hammering out the lineup? Unreal. Apparently, Davis never had any intention of doing the team pursuit, which is his right.

So, yeah, I was wrong to criticize Davis and I apologize. Truth be told, after Jay Mariotti wasted his column space to rip on Davis on more than one occasion in the past week - ooooh, Cherie Davis is going to fill up his e-mail inbox like nobody's business - I knew something was wrong. When I'm half-agreeing with the doofus that is Mariotti, I need to stop and reevaluate my thinking. Pronto. That was scary.

Besides, it's not like I was going to stay mad at a South Sider and White Sox fan for long.

Bottom line? I guess somewhere along the line there was a disconnect between Davis' thinking and my own. I mean, if I had turned my back on teammates the way Davis did back when I was growing up, my old man would have slapped me upside the head, stuck a boot up my ass, and screamed, "Get out there and race, you pretty boy! You don't need no %$%# rest!" And then he'd slap me upside the head again after the race. My ears hurt just thinking about it. So, yeah, I can't quite wrap my brain around Davis' decision to turn down the team pursuit and the chance at another medal, which the U.S. team may have won had he raced.

But then, I'm not Shani Davis, and I'm not a dude with the opportunity to become the first-ever black to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Olympics. That was quite a unique position he was in, a position not I nor anyone else can understand. So if his decision was to go for that one gold medal and make history, so be it. Who am I or anyone else to fault him? And that includes Hedrick.

That said, Davis probably cost himself some cash in endorsement deals when he seemingly went out of his way to look like someone killed his dog as Melissa Stark interviewed him after his gold medal-winning race. Hell, I don't look that grumpy in the early AM on a Monday morning after a long weekend of hardcore drinking and my car won't start and it's 10 degrees outside. And how can you not be at your most charming and smooth when Starks is interviewing you? Or at least trying your damndest to be charming and smooth? (For some cats such as myself, it isn't easy.) She's a cutie. Has Joe Namath taught us nothing? Get your grin on, Shani. Lighten up.

Hedrick, meanwhile, should have worried about his own agenda, and less about what Davis or anyone else was doing. Sure, Hedrick's goal of five medals was admirable. And he certainly is willing to man up, put on the U.S. uniform and race in any event he can (even the upcoming 10,000) no questions asked, meaning, I suppose, he is the one guy who might rightfully accuse Davis of not stepping up. But come on now. Mind your business. Take care of your own agenda. And if you do have a problem with Davis' decision not to race, confront him with it in private. Don't whine through the media.

Whatever.

In the end, after all the naysaying and finger-pointing like a couple of junior high girls fighting over a boy without braces, neither Davis nor Hedrick won the race dubbed as a showdown between the two.

And following the way both did a nice job of annoying potential fans over the past week, I suppose that's fitting.

Now we can all go back to not caring about speed skating until 2010.

Sasha! Cohen! (Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!)

Sasha! Cohen! (Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!)

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