Tonawanda News — Envision a planet with two moons. One is visible only once a year, the other every four years. The second arrives in approximate alignment with the first.
We approach something similar next week, a two-moon February with the appearance of the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, in that order. One need not be a sports enthusiast to welcome and appreciate these phenomena; they have social consequences and impact far beyond the confines of the sports section of the — I almost said newspaper — of the world of sports media.
Security will be breath-stealingly tight at each event. There will be winners and losers and kids watching who want to become those they observe. Patriotism, and its cousin, commercialism, will be on parade, and there likely will be a few scandals involving cheating, in competitive cauldrons more cut-throat than Wall Street or the entertainment business.
The takeaway, for those who follow the action via the media, notably television, will likely be whatever we bring to it. If we look for examples of bravery, talent, excellence supported by hard work, we will find it. If we see young people ready to trade broken bones, early hip replacement surgery and chronic traumatic encephalopathy for the possibility of fame and glory, it will unfold.
We will not cheer for these athletes when they are 50 years old and too feeble or damaged to walk down the stairs, so let us cheer for them now.
We can ponder Latvia’s Olympic hockey team, coached by the Buffalo Sabres’ Ted Nolan, a Canadian who is also of the Ojibway Nation, and consider whether any endeavor other than hockey could have made arrangements such as those for his life, or for that team.
Will you watch the Super Bowl in part for the commercials, or the halftime show? Will you watch at least some of the Olympics for the spectacle, or the possibility of the incidence of low-level terrorism?