Jack and the Winter Olympics

If you think the Super Bowl was a big deal down here in Panama, I bet you can’t wait for the Winter Olympics. Okay I admit we don’t have a team representing the isthmus and the only reason I can justify this oversight is that we don’t have winter. Yes, we have mountains but never any snow. And yes we have slippery slopes, but they’re more of the personal and/or moral kind that we’re slowly but surely sliding down.

Even in the States, the main reason to watch the extremely extensive coverage of ice hockey is because there is no more football on TV. Figure skating is a different story—ol’Jack wouldn’t watch that either but his lovely wife has a vote. I do plan to go into a couple of local sports bars here in Panama City during the Olympic fortnight and ask if curling is on.

To be honest, Panama isn’t the only country without a Nordic-combined team. There are very few teams representing whole non-Nordic continents like South America, Africa and Asia, which seldom send many luge competitors though they do have a few skeletons in the closet. Jamaica did have a bobsleigh (pronounced bobsled by everybody I know) team but I read they lack financing this time around, not that it’s not a totally feasible idea.

Off course there will be lots of fans in Sochi, Russia hoping to see if any snowboarders crash into their archrival skiers. However, few folk from these parts will be tempted to brave the cold because we don’t want to encourage Putin to participate in the Biathlon without his shirt on. It just doesn’t look like it’s going to be that much fun since the entire Olympic complex is under lockdown due to terrorist threats and even throwing a snowball could get somebody shot.

One of the joys of watching some past Winter Olympics on TV is the opportunity to see snow from our tropical vantage point. Freezing white precipitation can make for a winter wonderland when viewed from afar. However, that has already been provided to many TV viewers who watch weather reports from the States on the BBC or CNN International. Much of the continent, which includes Canada, has been besieged by one of the coldest, snowiest, iciest climate changes in decades.

While I can vouch that ol’Jack has made an effort not to gloat via social media, it can be noted that instead of attending the games in Sochi or even watching them from their igloos up north, most of my friends and family have expressed a certain degree of envy over the balmy breezes caressing our shores during what so far has been a beautiful dry season, which we call summer.


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