Sports

Baffoe: Schadenfreude Is Drawing Me To Watch The Olympics

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The Leopard, one of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics mascots, is presented during the opening ceremony at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

The Leopard, one of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics mascots, is presented during the opening ceremony at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Tim Baffoe - clean background Tim Baffoe
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his de...
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By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) — No lie — I was literally planning on making a joke at some point, as I started writing a different column, about how I hoped a cute stray dog would somehow wander into the Opening Ceremonies Friday night in Sochi, Russia. Then some wacky hijinks would ensue, and I’d giggle, and Vladimir Putin would have that same KGB-trained expression he always has so that you never know if he’s happy or planning a poisoning.

Exactly as I was crafting what totally would have had you laughing aloud at the office (totally), though, a stray dog got onto the cross-country skiing course in Sochi and ruined my joke. I got so mad I could’ve shot something. But then I watched that clip a few more times and ended up having a good laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

And that’s Sochi, isn’t it? Just one silly chuckle-provoking mishap and slapstick fiasco after another. It’s not very humorous for those involved, of course. The International Olympic Committee, the Russian government and planners, the media, and the athletes cannot be happy about this being the Cleveland Browns of sort-of-amateur international sport.

But I’m not there. You’d think with the potential for awfulness even way before we started seeing the fustercluckery trickle across the internet on an almost hourly basis in a country that screams fustercluckery (and in Russian it sounds even more metallic to the ears) that 670TheScore.com would have shipped me over there to sleep in a hollowed out bear that I had to kill with a vodka bottle and to write about skeleton, but even I am not that much of a Russian stray dog to CBS. And since I’m all cozied up here in balmy Chicago, I can laugh at all the misfortune occurring over there because, like somebody falling down some stairs, it’s funny because it’s not happening to me.

Plus, I’m not into the Olympics to begin with, and when I’m on the outside of something big in pop culture, I thoroughly enjoy when it turns bad. Like Justin Bieber being arrested or people slowly figuring out Mumford and Sons has just one song.

So I hadn’t planned on consuming anything Olympic other than what was unavoidable when surfing channels or the internet. But now that so many laughs are involved, I might have to take this all in just for the comedic potential. Schadenfreude attracts me like a moth to an Olympic flame… which went out 44 times on its way to Sochi.

How can I not point and laugh at what has a good chance at continuing from all the following:

And when you mix in a very real threat of terrorism that I guess isn’t as important as the need to know which country is most superior in the fringiest of fringe sportlike events for which we’re supposed to flip on our quadrennial blind jingoistic cheering switch? That primal NASCARian allure of potential maiming or loss of life that no sane person roots for yet draws the eyes subconsciously because we don’t dare risk missing the wreck?

The potential for more and more things hilariously falling apart and starting on fire and melting is just too funny for me to avoid. So, congrats, Sochi. You just may have lured me into watching the Olympics.

Follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @TimBaffoe, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at tenfootmailbag@gmail.com. Read more of Tim’s columns here.

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