More Dogs on Main Street
It’s great to bask in the completely unearned vicarious glory of Ted Ligety’s gold-medal win in the Olympics. I know Ted, a little. I know his parents pretty well and consider them friends. I used to work with Bill in our City Hall days, and we’ve done some fun bike trips together through the years. That’s close enough that Ted’s win feels like mine in that "go team" sort of way. The news broke while I was at a luncheon at The Canyons, and kind of rippled through the room and then around the resort. Ted is a bona fide local, born and educated here; a product of the Park City Ski Team and the Winter School programs. We all knew him when
It’s got to be a big thrill for Ted and his whole family. The shots of his parents on TV were great, and his brother, Charlie, will be joining them soon, just in time to see the slalom event that everybody thought he had a reasonable chance at medaling in. But I think the best part of it is that Ted and his family presented a class act the whole way through. All the comments were gracious, appreciative of the efforts of his coaches and friends through all the years, recognizing the contributions of Park City Mountain Resort to race training and racing in general, and on and on. If ever there was a sense of what amateur sport is all about, it’s a regular family sharing the excitement of an unexpected win.
There was no discussion about Ted having been raised in the woods by wolves, psychotic mood swings, or any of the other crap that gets focused on with so many of the athletes. Instead, we see the picture of a young man with a dream and the incredible determination and family support to achieve it. Not quite Norman Rockwell, but an updated version with a fully functional, normal American family. And it’s the real deal. Congratulations to Ted and his whole family. We’re all waiting for the Wheaties box.
And, also, congratulations to those who had the vision of turning Park City and Salt Lake into top-quality, winter sports training centers. I was skeptical, but when I look at the roster of the U.S. Olympians who have some pretty deep ties here, it’s pretty clear that it worked. And with Ted’s win, who knows, maybe one of these days there will be a luxury hotel at a top-notch resort in Norway called the Ted Ligety Lodge.
Of course the big news this week is Vice President Cheney’s unprovoked attack on a Texas lawyer while quail hunting. The first time Cheney said it was just an unfortunate accident, I believed him. The more he repeated it, the more convinced I became that it was really an attempted hit, and that Cheney was deliberately trying to do the poor old guy some serious harm. Regime change. Maybe he was falling behind in his fundraising efforts for the GOP, and Cheney wanted to send a message to all the other members of the Pioneer and Ranger clubs that they’d better get their ducks in a row. There’s an election coming, and things aren’t looking so great for the GOP at the moment (of course, the Democrats will choke again).
The best comment I’ve heard on the whole thing was that Cheney was complaining about how the liberal media was twisting the story. Nobody was talking about the millions of people he didn’t shoot this week. Always focusing on the negative.
As usual, I see a slightly different story. I see a national press corps feeling humiliated that the story was broken by a mid-sized newspaper in Corpus Christi, Texas, rather than the New York Times. How dare those local paper people cover a national story? The other thing is, all these reporters working in New York, who have never seen a quail in the wild, trying to discuss quail hunting as if they know something about it. A few have been honest enough to admit they have never fired a gun. Most, however, just make it painfully evident by asking stupid questions. It was mid-week before somebody sent out a memo explaining the difference between a shotgun and a rifle. Reporters who had been very confused, and creating elaborate conspiracy theories about how there could have been multiple wounds from a single shot, began to get the picture. "Oh, you mean it’s like cluster bombs?" Not exactly. It’s like birdshot.
Others asked probing questions like "why didn’t he have the safety on?" Well, he didn’t have the safety on because the gun won’t fire with the safety on — and he was hunting birds, which involves firing the gun. That’s what it is all about. Why they were hunting quail, which scamper around on the ground in big groups, presenting little or no challenge, is another question. Some of the cable networks have actually had hunter safety instructors from the local NRA chapter or shotgun salesmen from the nearest Cabella’s store trying to explain the whole situation. As if it matters.
In addition to Cheney and the guy he blasted, the hunting party included the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, who has apparently gone underground and made no comment on the whole affair. If I remember correctly, the Ambassador is a woman. Maybe he killed her. But she’s invisible for the time being and being diplomatic enough not to comment on the incident. There is a lot of speculation that the fourth member of the hunting party may have been Jack Daniels. We’ll never know. What happens on the Armstrong Ranch stays on the Armstrong Ranch.
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