Monday, February 20, 2006

Your Arrogance Is Unbecoming

Aside from two nights, we've been watching the Olympics every night now. And you know what? I'm really sick of Bode Miller. Is it un-American for me to say that? I know we're supposed to be cheering our own countrymen along and all, but frankly, I'm kind of glad Bode hasn't won't a thing in these Winter Games.

If you haven't been paying attention, well, Bode Miller was supposedly Team USA's best chance for winning gold in one of the Alpine Skiing events. Yet, his understated arrogance was grating. He had this cockiness to him that was subtle and irritating. So when he has repeatedly lost out on earning himself a medal of any color, I don't know...I just can't help but be glad about that. I know that being an Olympic athlete is supposed to take guts and determination, which is clearly something Miller has. But there is still the fact that these athletes will set role models. We'll see their faces plastered on various commercials for years to come. And when I want my children to model themselves after someone...Bode Miller doesn't come to mind.

Compare that to Apollo Ohno. Now he's a man who deserves applause. He's a man with self-respect, as well as respect for others. He demonstrates a level of humility and grace under pressure. Okay, so he didn't win the gold either. But I wanted him to, unlike Miller.

Where are the truly interesting stories in the Olympics? While watching the pairs Figure Skating competition, there were stories of hardship which humanized these people. It made them accessible to us common folk. It made them seem like real people striving to be the best against the hardest of times. Take, for instance, the pair where the man had ripped his Achilles. He deserved to make it up on that podium. Or the Chinese pairs under the direction of the coach who had been laughed at in the 1976 Olympics.

Perhaps it is because I'm not all that into watching sports...but the Olympics are still about people. It isn't about being the best, but being the underdog and making it through. Like Lindsay Kildow, who skied the women's downhill in extraordinary pain...so much that you could see it across her face. She didn't win a medal...but she won our hearts.

These are the people I want my children to take note of. To see that sometimes being the best means falling down and getting back up. It means facing hardship, but pushing through anyhow. Sometimes it means never reaching that ultimate dream, but having tried anyway.

It doesn't mean acting like you are the king of the hill, and only finishing two of the three races you enter because of your arrogance. Sorry, Mr. Miller. But your arrogance is just unbecoming. Not that you care, I'm sure.

5 comments:

julia said...

I'm impressed with Joey Cheek. He's donating all of his winnings to children in refugee camps in Africa. http://www.newsday.com/sports/olympics/ny-spospeed0214,0,7083743.story?coll=ny-rightrail-flashy

And, of course, Kris Freeman, because he has type 1. http://www.skiracing.com/profiles/news_displayProfile.php/1280/PROFILES/newsArticles/

Anonymous said...

This is my first blog! Bode is complicated and I think that bothers people --- that he is not coming through in ways they need him to. He is the one that has to get down the mountain and unless you are ready to take his place, just let him be himself. Fortunately, he has a strong enough identity that he will do that anyway.

Go Bode.

RyanBruner said...

You're absolutely right. I mean, there is no way I'd head down any mountain on a pair of skis travelling around 90 MPH. I won't even drive that fast!

I think of any other endeavor, though. Pick a sport. Basketball, say. Let's say Bode played basketball, and could make a three-point shot from farther across the court than anyone else. But, he only makes about 1/3 as many successful shots of any distance than the rest of the team. I would hardly call him the best in the world then. Yet, there he is. I mean, if I wrote software like he skied...well, my software would do some absolutely incredible things...except it would crash most of the time.

I can accept all that, even...except that he portrays himself as being "all that". And while he is likely fine with that...as role models go, he isn't for me...nor my kids.

That's all I'm saying.

BTW, thanks for visiting my blog!

Hoedeman said...

I'm a shade confused. All that I've seen from Bode Miller is absolutely model behavior from an olympian.

He has commercials running as a part of his Nike sponsorship that show him eloquently discussing the dangers of our competition-obsessed culture, and when he fails he usually has modest comments along the lines of, "The other racers were better than I was today. Congratulations to them".

I would like it if you could point me to some quotations or instances of Bode Miller being arrogant or a poor role model because I just haven't seen anything like that.

He has an individuality about him that embodies American spirit and I think he deserves maximum respect.

RyanBruner said...

hoedeman:

Yes, he is very polite. But it is comments like this (taken from msnbc.com):

“One of the good things about my career is I have such extensive knowledge, so I always go as hard as I can,” Miller told The Associated Press. “Some guys can go 70-80 percent and get results, but I wouldn’t do that.

“If things went well, I could be sitting on four medals, maybe all of them gold.”


This was a direct quote from him today. These are the things I see from Bode that bother me. Until these Olympics, I didn't know the name Bode Miller. The first time I saw him interviewed, before he even performed in his first race, I was annoyed by his arrogance. His presumption that he is better than everyone else, and when he doesn't make it down or doesn't win, it is a matter of bad luck. Or, in his words, "if things went well."

I suppose I'm sounding far more harsh than I actually feel. But I've seen far more Olympic spirit in many more athletes than Mr. Miller.