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Frogs and Hoos and Games, Oh My

The various news media have spent quite a bit of time, column inches, airwave spectrum and bandwidth recently over the awarding of the 2012 Olympics. I didn’t really follow it all that closely, as the chances of the Games of the XXX Olympiad [let’s see how long it takes porn purveyors to really screw up that number with search engines] being awarded to Danville or even Blacksburg, the two places I tend to spend the most time, seemed rather slight.

It would be interesting to have them in Danville, mainly for the spectacle that would be created when the city’s woefully incompetent municipal government thoroughly botched the job of hosting them, as they do most everything else into which they stick their fingers.

I would have marveled at the lengths what passes for media here would have gone to in order to have spun them into a wildly-unqualified success. The local rag would no doubt have featured prominently on its front page a beaming Amusement Commissar proclaiming the Budville Olympics to be an overwhelming victory for his merry band of useless bureaucrats, as the populations of every Class M planet in the quadrant had attended the weekend’s Olympiad in the Park and the cost to the city’s under whelmed, at least in his and Jer’s mind, taxpayers, a mere $612 million, a small price to pay to draw attention to the Amusement Commissar. But I digress.

As most everyone knows by now, the 2012 Olympics were awarded to London. This was considered great news by all Britons except for those paying the taxes that will be necessary to construct athletic venues of Olympian proportions and those who will be stuck in traffic or otherwise have their lives disrupted by having thousands of athletes and NBC personnel in their back yards. Maybe it is just as well they are not coming to Danville.

The other US city that, like Danville, will not be hosting the 2012 Olympics is New York. Unlike Danville, New York had actually made a pitch for them. New York had been considered a viable candidate, at least until New York Senator and First Presidential Lady-in-Waiting Hillary Rodham-Clinton made a pitch on behalf of her adopted state. This caused the International Olympic Committee, which decides such things, to immediately strike New York from its list of potential sites. The IOC might also have taken a dim view of Hils’ plans to turn channeling Eleanor Roosevelt and file-hiding into Olympic sports. After listening to Ms. Rodham-Clinton, the IOC no doubt came away thinking the terrorists had the right idea.

There was one other big loser in the Games-awarding sweepstakes. That would be Paris, France. Now, it certainly does not require a stretch to equate France with losing. The frogs have turned it into an art form. A world war hasn’t truly begun until a French Marshall signs a surrender document and it is no accident that French military histories are bound in white covers, a far more prevalent hue in France than the other tri-colors after the shooting starts. Few words are as mutually-exclusive as ‘France’ and ‘Victory.’

Not satisfied with a military losing streak unmatched by all except for Duke in football, France had recently grown weary of having its soldiers turn tail and run at the first bark of German machine guns. It had appointed a national committee to find other avenues to demonstrate French inferiority. It seems to have found it.

France is proving to be every bit as inept in waging campaigns to bring an Olympiad to Paris as it is in waging war. This marks the third attempt in which the frogs have failed to bring home the Olympic bacon, having previously tried and failed to garner the 1992 and 2008 Games. They are piling up a losing streak every bit as unimpressive as their record in war. Compared to French Olympics organizers, Napoleon routed both Wellington and Blucher at Waterloo.

This time it was supposed to be different, however. France was considered to be the favorite for the Olympics this time around. It was practically guaranteed the 2012 Games by French media types obviously too young to have experienced the various foreign occupations of French soil that their military has proven so incapable of preventing. Not since the Foreign Legion was dispatched to put down a pesky little uprising in French Indochina had France been tabbed so huge a favorite. The French committee charged with bringing the 2012 Olympiad to Paris had put together a proposal of a thoroughness not seen since the plans for the Maginot Line were drawn up. It worked about as well, too.

That the 2012 Games would be held in Paris was considered to be such a forgone conclusion that French President Jacques Chirac had taken to weauxfing about it, claiming that the IOC would not award the Games to a country with such lousy cuisine as England and bringing up concerns about Mad Cow Disease. Chirac seemed to have angered the Weauxf Gods.

In the end, the IOC seemed not so much concerned about Mad Cow Disease as the Mad Frog Disease that is always a problem in France, especially in August, which just happens to coincide with the time the Olympics are ramping up. Getting things done in Paris might be a little tricky during the time the entire country is on vacation. There also seemed to be a bit of trepidation on the part of the IOC about the ability of the moribund French economy to handle such a monumental undertaking. After all, have you driven a Renault lately?

Of course, the IOC demonstrated a much better grasp of things than one would normally expect from that collection of kooks and awarded the Games of the XXX Olympiad to London. The reaction in France was not positive. A national wailing and gnashing of teeth resulted that was usually reserved for news that the French Army had folded up as fast as Maryland in Lane Stadium. They were about as happy as Larry Coker learning that the next Miami-Tech game would be played at night.

Leading the frog croaking was their version of the Internet loons, which in France constitutes the entire media. Think of the front page of the Times-Dispatch having been transformed into a Hoo message board to get an idea of the wailing done by the French Fourth Estate. The reporting was about as coherent and well-measured as one sees on any message board following a loss. The limeys had cheated while, of course, the French had played by the rules, France never had a chance up against those ringers brought in by England who had no business engaging in Olympic-organizing and the usual few who claimed France would have won had it not been for the idiots who had drawn up their organizing game plan, the lot of whom should be immediately fired. There was the ever-popular lament of losers that the IOC ‘just didn’t like us,’ making the IOC no different from anybody else. The most amusing however, were those plaintive wails claiming that while England might have won the Games, France still was the better institution superior in all other facets of national life. While England might have won the Games, well, France still makes the best bouillabaisse.

Which brings us to the Hoos.

A Tech wag once referred to the Hoos as France and it has become a designation they seem to be determined to live down to. From algroh’s boasting of the football power he has constructed, bringing to mind French bragging about the impenetrability of the afore-mentioned Maginot Line to Craig Littlepage’s bungling of the Tubby deal, giving him an insurmountable lead in this year’s contest for the ACC’s Marshall Joffre Award for Athletic Director Incompetence, demonstrating again why Hooville has become such an excellent training ground for the position of East Carolina Athletic Director, to the general all-around arrogance displayed by the Hoos, they continue to represent themselves as positively frog-like. Wally Wahoo will soon be leaping around Scott Stadium from lily pad to lily pad.

The latest Hoo attempt to emulate the French comes, not surprisingly, from that Internet site devoted to all things Hoo, the Saber. That august site is well known for its charming message board overrun with Internet loons who possess an overriding obsession with all things Tech that is unmatched except by the obsession the Tech message board loons have with all things Hoo and the obsession every other school’s message board loons have with their principle rival’s message board loons. The quality and quantity of its message board loons hardly makes the Saber unique in the world of loon-driven message boards.

What does differentiate the Saber, however, is the administrative commitment shown to Internet loonieness. They take the top-down approach over there; the Tech obsession is infused into every cyber-fiber of the site’s being, containing such a layered depth of which algroh can still only dream. It’s not every site where those running it count themselves as the biggest loons.

The most recent example of the Saber’s staunch adherence to both an obsession with Tech and comporting themselves as Frenchmen came from site columnist John ‘Jacques’ Galinsky. It was positively Boardhostian in its contempt for Tech.

Jacques’ work is normally of a quality that would indicate it was written on beer coasters while he engaged in that time-honored custom of Hoo freshmen of getting blotto drunk at the Corner. It really is that good. It would seem that Jacques had awoken one morning after a bender to discover that he had gotten stinko to the point of hurling all over girlfriend Buffy’s newest Gap creation. They were on the outs. While waiting for the check from Daddy to arrive so that he might buy Buffy some new bauble and mend the relationship Jacqus had been rummaging around his computer and found a column he had scrawled a year before. In it, he had combined both his obsession with Tech, his disgust at Tech’s entry into the ACC and his dismay at the role played in that entrance by his school’s big-picture President, Board of Trustees and influential alumni to produce a piece confidently claiming that Tech would, in its inaugural year, finish at or near the bottom of the conference standings in each and every sport. Oops!

It seemed an apt time to amend that a bit. As is the habit of most Hoo loons, he quickly reverted to the one-trick pony argument about Tech athletics. He then happened to notice the ACC basketball standings. While ridiculing Tech as a two-trick pony he happened upon the soccer and wrestling scores, then the women’s swimming and diving ones along with the NCAA appearances made by the women’s softball and basketball teams. Jacques was undeterred.

Then came a diatribe deriding Tech as a seven-trick pony in possession of an athletics program vastly inferior to that fielded by the Hoos. The Hokies might have won in football and basketball, but were slaughtered by the Hoos in the sports that really mattered, such as lawn croquet, girl’s badminton and misplaced arrogance. While any old ACC school can win the conference football championship and finish in the first division in basketball, except, of course, the one founded by Mr. Jefferson, a true measure of a school’s athletic prowess is how the women’s cross-country team fares. We can expect the Saber to soon be leading the charge to have the Commonwealth Cup awarded every year not to the school that wins the football game but the field hockey one. It would seem that the sky in Jacques’ world is the color of sour grapes.

What seemed to be about as unimportant to Jacques as matching up last names among mothers and babies in Hoo General were the advantages the Hoos had received from their long membership in the ACC. The Hoos have been able to count each and every year on large checks cut by that league due to the desire by the television networks to broadcast games played primarily by North Carolina, Duke and Florida State, although precious few by the Hoos. The networks have been willing to pay through the nose for the privilege and the Hoos have not been shy in sticking out their hand for their cut, even while contributing very little to the pot. It would seem the networks have not been quite so eager to shell out big bucks for the right to televise the Hoos world-class soccer or spewing programs. Having these kinds of program-enhancing funds in the bank has given the Hoos an advantage that Tech could only dream of and still will for another year before ACC revenue sharing equalizes for the conference newbies.

But of course, possessing financial benefits over the common herd is not considered an advantage by the Hoos but a birthright. That a rival can accomplish more with less in certain sports does seem to contribute to the obsession, however, and so it is with Jacques.

Tech has the Commonwealth Cup and the British have the Olympics. France is left to brag on the quality of its onion soup while the Hoos carry on about women’s lacrosse. It is quite amusing.

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