What the folk?

I guess this is the part of the blog where I begin by saying “I’m not dead.”

However, I gave you all ample warning that I would be gone for about a week. Well, one week later I have returned. I may lie about a lot of things, like my wealth, my beliefs and my sexual prowess, but I would NEVER lie about the timeliness of my blogging. Actually, in all seriousness, 99.9% of the things I say here are truthful and are things I genuinely believe. That is why I created this blog in the first place — I’m tired of being politically correct all of the time. This is the goddamn truth zone.

I briefly mentioned why I would be AWOL before my departure. Every year (and by every year I mean last year and this year), my friends and I attempt to travel to an out-of-state music festival. As none of you will recall, last May I went to the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. And that was awesome.

This year, I went to the Newport Folk Festival in, you guessed it, Newport! As awesome as Beale Street was… Newport was more awesome.

For those of you who haven’t listened to folk music lately, I’m going to give you a shortlist of bands/musicians you must listen to: Of Monsters and Men, the Head and the Heart, Blind Pilot, Trampled by Turtles, Conor Oberst, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, First Aid Kit, Dawes and Deer Tick. I saw all of them live and they were fantastic.

The Newport Folk Festival is an extremely prestigious event with a rich musical history. Bob Dylan played there. Joan Baez played there. As did Johnny Cash.

Music festivals are dependent on a lot of things — obviously the music, but also the environment, and possibly even most importantly, the location. Each festival should be unique to its setting. Well, Newport’s festival was located at Fort Adams State Park, and surrounding the stages and grassy plains was nothing but water. Water full of boats and kayaks and the setting sun. It was quite gorgeous.

To say that I had a great time is an understatement. The nonstop vibe that was prevalent all throughout the three-day show was contagious. Just being surrounded by people who traveled from different parts of the country (I saw one license plate from Alaska), and who are all at the same place as you to enjoy the same things — music, fresh air and perhaps some alcohol, it’s refreshing.

Normally we become nostalgic about something a little while after it happened. Maybe a few weeks later or a month later. I’ve only been home for two days and I already miss it. I’m already nostalgic.

Even if you don’t particularly enjoy folk music, I highly recommend you make the trip to this festival one time in your life. It’s a great experience, and in addition, Newport is a wonderful area. It is chock full of mansions, great people, water and a hopping nightlife. Oh and plenty of seafood.

So that is why I have not been present. It was not due to lack of motivation, trust me. In fact, it came to a surprise to me that I actually found myself missing blogging. After four or five days of Weinblog withdrawal, I realized that I was subconsciously blogging in my head. I was thinking aloud exactly what I wanted to say in my next edition. I’m unsure what that means for my sanity, but it’s good news for you guys, I guess.

I also returned to work today for the first time since last Thursday, and the first thing I did was log onto the New York Times website to see what I missed in the world while I was in Newport. Of course I know the Olympics are going on. I watched them sporadically throughout the weekend while I was in front of a television.

But the first thing that caught my eye were the several Olympians who were disqualified from the Olympics this morning for “tossing matches.”

Humorously, I literally interpreted that as human beings physically throwing fire-lit matches at people, hence their disqualification. But then I clicked on the link and realized that I was stupid.

Anyway, I’m unsure of what to think of this. I think that disqualification was the right move, because this needs to be immediately discouraged. There were also rumors that the Chinese soccer team threw a match to gain a more favorable opponent a couple of days ago. So you might as well use a much less popular sport such as badminton to set an example.

Just to add some backdrop, this is the first year that the Olympics incorporated preliminary rounds, sometimes known as “group play.” These are considered exhibition matches, and the sole reason for their existence is to determine match-ups. In short, your performance in the preliminary round determines who you will play in the actual Olympic medal games. So in order to gain more favorable matches, some teams were intentionally losing so that they could face an easier opponent.

One part of me looks at the strategic side. The goal is to gain a gold medal. If enabling yourself to face an easier opponent can help with that, then obviously that makes sense. If you want to blame anybody, blame the Olympic committee for setting it up this way and not expecting the consequences.

But on the other hand, I also view it as morally reprehensible. This is the freaking Olympics. This isn’t Little League. It’s the OLYMPICS. People work their entire lives to get to this point — to be able to compete for their country’s honor. Thousands of people tried, but just fell short.

And now you have these people who did make it, and on the grandest stage — in front of millions of viewers — and they aren’t trying?

Are you kidding me? Is that how you got to the Olympics? By not trying? It’s disgusting. How can you work so hard your entire life to achieve something — only to not try when you get there.

Of course, the “not trying” strategy was temporary until they got to the actual medal games, but even doing it one time is disgraceful. This is your one shot to prove to the world what you are capable of, and giving any less than 100% effort during one single moment of the Olympic Games is unacceptable. So they deserved what they got.

Just take blogging for example. I consider this blog just as influential and important to the world as the Olympic Games. Can you imagine if I purposely wrote a shitty blog? If I suddenly used improper grammar, incorrect spelling, and inappropriate punctuation?

I shudder at the mere thought!

2 thoughts on “What the folk?

  1. Is an NFL team resting players at the tail end of a long season to insure the health of their players any different? That scenario occurs all of the time. One specific instance I recall vividly is the 2009 Indianapolis Colts tossing away perfection like moldy cheese.

    • I see where you’re coming from, but here is how I differentiate between the two:

      The NFL, or professional sports in general, are a profession. A Livelihood. The goal of the athletes who participate in them is obviously to win, but equally as important on an individual level — to make a living. To provide for themselves and their families. So you HAVE to look out for yourself and do what is in your own best interest sometimes.

      The Olympics, meanwhile, are often somebody’s only shot to prove themselves. Badminton, water polo and volleyball players don’t play in billion-dollar grossing sports leagues. For them, this is it. They are competing to prove they are the best in the world. Not the league, the world. And on top of that, they are doing it for their country. They are doing it for pride and integrity. So to only give 50% effort or less, well you’re disgracing those qualities about yourself. There’s no consolation here, whereas there is in the NFL ($).

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