I was watching the Olympic coverage last night. As the downhill skiers flew along at better than eighty miles an hour, without the protection of a car around them, I mused that sometimes it really is no mystery that humans became the dominant species on the planet.
I mean, seriously—we can be some determined little fuckers when we put our minds to it. Several of the athletes were competing despite injuries received in the last few days of training. Trained hard for years, made the team, got through the qualification trials, only to miss the main event just because I’ve been in the hospital? Screw that! Gimme my skis!
People like to compare humans with, say, grizzly bears, and expound on how weak and unfit our species is. Bullshit. Sure, the ones who live sedentary lives in ease and comfort aren’t going to stack up to a critter who hunts for a living. But humans as a species are nothing to mess with. An African lion might snag a lone human he can catch unawares, but even the king of beasts won’t fuck with a group of men out looking for trouble. I saw such a hunt on the Discovery Channel once; four or five men armed only with spears setting out to hunt a lion. When the lion, reclining in the shade, saw them coming, he got this “Oh, shit!” look on his face and ran for it. It did him no good; they chased him down and kicked his leonine ass.
I kind of wish I could watch the Olympics in another country, though, just to get a better idea of how the other teams are doing. In its usual “we’ll tell you morons what you want to watch” style, the U.S. media is focussing almost entirely on the American athletes. In the downhill skiing, they showed the top four placers, then the next four American placers—even though the next American was in seventh place. They often made no effort to interview the gold or silver medal winners unless they were Americans. And most offensive of all, they frequently show the Olympic logo—the emblem of international unity—with a big ol’ “USA” sitting on top of it.
Sure, I’m rooting for the U.S.A. But they’re all damn impressive athletes. Give ’em their due credit, you bastards.