People the world over are thrilled by the amazing sacrifices and accomplishments of the international Olympics athletes and the entire Olympics spectacle itself. Yet in a recent survey of Jewish Olympics fans, the same criticism is voiced over and over again – the Olympics aren’t Jewish enough. This, of course, raises several questions:
1. Do the Olympics need to become more Jewish?
You need to ask? Let me pose a challenge – name one thing that isn’t improved by making it more Jewish. Exactly.
Do you hear us complaining about how goyish most things are?
2. Wouldn’t the non-Jewish Olympics athletes, much less the rest of the non-Jewish world, resent it if the Olympics was made more Jewish?
Perhaps. But life is filled with disappointments. Do you hear us complaining about how goyish most things are?
3. Is “The Olympics” singular or plural?
Are you kidding? Is this the kind of trivial question that actually fills your mind? All right, I’ll humor you. I think it’s singular because it refers to one grouping of a number of different events. But you’re right – it’s confusing as it could seemingly go either way. Thanks for bringing it up.
4. How, exactly, might one go about making the Olympics more Jewish?
Okay, finally, you’re asking the most important question. Those others were just teases leading up to this, huh? Okay, here are just some of the ways to create what we’ve always dreamed of deep in our hearts – a more Jewish Olympics.
Turn Up the Guilt Factor
Not nearly enough is being done with guilt, and the Olympics was made for it. Check it out. You’re an Olympic athlete whose parents have slaved and sacrificed your whole life to encourage your athletic pursuits, pay for your training, schlep you to and from practice, create scrapbooks and video records of your accomplishments, brag about you to everyone they know, act as your shrink when you started to doubt your potential. And then you don’t bring home the Gold, Silver, or Bronze? This is how you repay them? You realize you’ve just crushed all their dreams, let alone those of your friends, family and trainers. This will no doubt send your parents to an early grave. I hope you’re happy.
And as a physical representation of the guilt, three more medals could be introduced. These would be counterparts to the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and would be awarded to the lowest-performing athletes in each sport. Yes, the dreaded Aluminum, Tin and Lead awards would be humiliating symbols of failure, shattered dreams, and, of course, guilt.
The very rich, untapped area of complaining could add a lot of tension release to the Olympics. Of course, viewers watching the Olympics at home on TV have always complained about it, but why not share their complaints with the world via Tweets running across the bottom of the screen, much like the networks do to promote their future shows during shows currently airing? Let’s hear how upset folks are about the corporate sponsorship and commercialization of the Games, about how the judges cheated certain athletes out of their proper scores, about how the beach volleyball players’ uniforms are too skimpy.
Athletes, too, could complain about their food, accommodations, teammates, aches and pains, pressure, jealousy, trainers, management, and lack of normal lives. And let’s not forget complaints by the citizens whose cities are being overrun by the Olympics, snarling traffic and bringing thousands of rude, classless, littering tourists who disturb the nation’s customary tranquility.
Then there are always the complaints of ordinary people who were never good enough to even consider trying out for the Olympics. Consequently, they’ve spent the rest of their lives in bitter regret, attempting to somehow compensate or over-compensate. But I don’t want to make this all about me.
Jewhancing (combination of “Jewish” and “enhance”) the Individual Sports
Weight lifting – Lifting weights is so old school. Lifting multiple volumes of the Talmud – now that’s something new.
Shot put – Granted, the metal “shot” ball is indeed heavy, but compared to my Aunt Mona’s matzoh balls? No contest! And a team of amateur Jewish chefs could no doubt come up with heavier ones than that.
100 meter sprint – Tell the truth – what would be more motivating – sprinting to some finish line, or sprinting to an annual clothing sale? I think I’ve made my point.
Synchronized swimming – Yes, it’s lovely to watch, but it seems the same, year after year, doesn’t it? Now, synchronized kvetching – that would be unique and much more fun, no? (See “Complaining,” above.) Also, swimming in water is passé. Let’s step it up a notch and try some swimming events in borscht, adding huge dollops of sour cream as barriers to swim around!
Pole vault – Again, since the Olympics began, pole vaulters have been leaping over a bar. In the Jewhanced version, they could leap over stacks of previous years’ medical school and law school applications.
Proposed New “Jewlympic” Events
Longest Passover Seder dinner. We’ve all experienced those. Why not go for the record? Truly a test of focus and stamina. And it could be made even more challenging by using less comfortable chairs, and food prepared by hospital and airline chefs.
Timed tax preparation. There are many Jewish accounting firms. And many of them prepare complex tax returns for their business clients. But how quickly and accurately can they do it, while exploring every legal loophole and saving their clients how much money? This timed event will determine the world leader.
Ostentatious bar mitzvah party. How much money could you possibly spend on one bar mitzvah party? Who’s the biggest celebrity you could get to perform or appear there? The most famous chef you could get to cater it? The most memorable gifts with which to fill your guests’ take-home goody bags? All will be answered at the end of this unique event.
Hospital stay challenge. In order to compete in this event, you have to have stayed in a hospital for at least three days, undergone a major procedure, and have had an extensive period of recovery. The event is medical one-upsmanship, plain and simple. The one with the most painful, draining, devastating, tears-inducing experience – takes the gold.