Just like during the Superbowl, the Olympics are an opportunity for advertisers to really take advantage of the increase in viewers and pull out all the stops when it comes to the commercials they air during key viewing times. In their Go Wolrd campaign, the folks over at Visa have capitalized on this by celebrating the human accomplishments of athletes from not just the present, but the past as well. These commercials–narrated by Morgan Freeman–have been my favorites since the games began last week.
This one in particular being my favorite of the bunch because I can honestly relate to it–the outcomes for the men’s team final and women’s individual all-around competitions in gymnastics being the perfect example (not so much with the women’s team final since so many people choked and I didn’t find many reasons to get choked up over). In both cases, I obviously didn’t know any of these athletes personally (still don’t) and yet, I was cheering them on in my living room as if I were one of their teammates and extremely nervous as if it was actually me out there on the podium. I still haven’t figured out why, but maybe it’s just as Freeman states in the commercial: “Maybe, it’s simply that they are human. And we are human. And when they succeed, we succeed.”
I don’t know.
However, I will freely admit that I grew a little teary-eyed at the end of the men’s team finals when the Chinese men gathered together in a group hug once they learned that they’d won the gold and when cameras switched over to the American men screaming and shouting for joy and hugging one another at the same moment when they learned that they’d won the bronze. It was even more so when Nastia Liukin won the individual all-around title. When Shawn Johnson’s floor score was posted, confirming that Liukin was the champion, I was happy beyond belief for her. Her coach and father–former Soviet Union gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Valeri Liukin–gathered her in a great big bear hug and it looked like they were both tearing up and that was it for me. I’m not sure what it was, but there you go.
The thing that makes this stranger than it already is, is the fact that for the most part, I’m probably not the most sensitive person in the world. Though, contrary to not-so-popular belief, I am a good friend (despite being considered “the mean one” among my friends). I can be there to lend a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on if you have the need, but I’m more of the type to give you my uncensored opinion, tell you how it is and not really think before I speak. Maybe that’s why I make a good friend and why journalism seems to be a good career choice for me…
…Okay, so now that both my head and ego have deflated and I’ve come back down to Earth, let me get back to my point. As I was saying, getting teary-eyed during these Olympic moments is strange. Maybe not as strange as I think since I’m sure there are at least a few people out there who are like me, right? Preferably those of the single heterosexual male persuasion living in the greater Seattle area who are employed, practice good personal hygeine, plan and partake in activities that involve actually leaving one’s house, read, enjoy the sport of baseball–both watching and playing–and posess a great deal of machismo in addition to being sensitive. Again I’m straying from my point. My point is that, while it’s strange for anyone to tear up while watching sporting events, it’s probably even stranger for someone like me–who once told a guy who’s in and out of the hospital multiple times throughout the year due to cystic fibrosis (I think) that we’re all dying but he’s just doing it faster than the rest of us.
I’m not sure what all of this says about me. That I’m a sensitively insensitive person? An insensitively sensitive person? An oddity? Take it however you choose, but that’s just the type of person I am and as I told my friend Wynn, I like the way I am and I don’t plan on changing anytime soon!