By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — I’m a sucker for the Olympics.
I go to parties for the opening ceremonies. I download apps that will remind me when the Jamaican bobsled team will be on TV. I generally hate politics, but find it fascinating when Bob Costas talks to two guys I’ve never heard of about why Russia hates America so much.
Curling? Sign me up. I’ve never thrown (tossed? rolled? slid?) a stone (rock? chunk of granite? flat bowling ball?), but put an Olympic curling match on the TV and I’ll watch every minute when the Americans (who look like they’re your next door neighbors) play the Norweigans (who wear those awesome pants).
That’s really what the Olympics are about — watching a bunch of sports every four years that you otherwise don’t care about at all. (Hockey being an exception.)
I’ll set my alarm to see the U.S. men’s hockey team play Slovakia at 6:30 a.m., even though I passed on Blackhawks-Ducks — the two best teams in hockey — the other night because it started too late (9:30 p.m.).
The short-track speed skating and snowboard cross races? Compelling and addicting.
I’ll even tolerate the skiing, luging and figure skating. It’s not that exciting, but NBC does a good job of showing you what the sick part of your brain enjoys.
It’s that same part of your brain that enjoys watching big hits in football, even though others’ brains are being destroyed.
Thursday night, I wondered how the hell those snowboarders landed those huge jumps in the Slopestyle event. Promptly, NBC showed a girl landing on her head.
She got right back up, of course.
Meanwhile, a Canadian dude — the favorite — went through his run with a broken rib. The trick he was doing at the X-Games when he broke his rib? Yeah, he landed it.
And don’t you wonder how skiers go through the moguls without injuring their knees? Well, American Heidi Kloser tore her knee to shreds on the first run NBC showed Thursday.
Then there’s this luger, who you should watch over and over again, because even though he probably came close to last place, the dude fell off his sled and somehow got right back on without stopping. Sure, lucky as hell, but also entertaining as hell.
And that’s exactly what these Olympics have been so far — very entertaining — even if they just started yesterday.
But mostly, they’ve been hilarious.
While watching the actual games on television is fun, following on the Internet this week has been priceless. The Olympics have entered a new age with the way the Internet keeps them honest, and the ridiculousness that is Sochi has been exposed this week.
And I’ve enjoyed every bit of it — well, most of it.
Maybe it doesn’t seem real because some of the buildings actually aren’t real.
And who thought it was OK to build a cross country skiing track on this dog’s property?
Seriously, the stories keep getting better and better. The Olympics have barely even begun and I’m ready to declare these games my favorite Olympics ever.
I just hope it stays that way.
The reality is that all the hilarious stories and tweets we’ve seen this week are really just a distraction from the serious underlying concerns in Sochi. There are terrorist threats, computer hackers (or not), the apparent mass killing of dogs, and awful anti-gay laws.
And despite all the fun I’ve had this week laughing at Sochi, I can’t help but be scared that the laughter might turn into tears in the next two weeks.
The best case scenario is that we are able to keep laughing and appreciate the great responses to the negative aspects of the Sochi Olympics. But the worst case scenario is that something tragic happens.
It’s scary to know that American athletes and travelers have been encouraged not to wear USA gear outside the games’ venues.
That part of the Sochi Olympics is not funny. It’s downright frightening.
I hope to one day cover the Olympics, but I am happy that this is not my first one. I have talked to colleagues who are in Sochi, and don’t want to be, because they are scared.
Hopefully the athletes know they are making us proud just by being there. And hopefully the reporters know they are entertaining us with their not-too-serious misfortunes. They are not complaining, as some have suggested, they are just reporting on a city — and a country — that was clearly not ready to host the Olympics.
For the most part, unprepared Sochi is funny. But in many other ways, it’s not.
Stay hilarious, Sochi Olympics. Please, don’t turn tragic.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.