T he difference between a gold medal and a silver medal in the two-man bobsled is about the width of the bar in Port O’Call. That’s the perspective a Swiss silver medalist used to describe the distance covered in the nine one-hundredths of a second—after four runs—that garnered gold for the German team. Germany: 3:10:11; Switzerland 3:10:20. Curiously, that distance is about the same as two toppled pitchers of beer placed end-to-end, and in their pre-flight home celebration Monday afternoon at the Port, the members of various Swiss teams were toppling plenty of beer pitchers. Haupt Schweizer!!
They couldn’t sing a lick, though. As they jubilantly killed time awaiting their flight home, they often broke into bawdy choruses of such forgotten American standards as “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Na na na na (Hey, Hey, Goodbye)” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Except for not knowing the words, their rendition of “Ghost Riders” wasn’t that bad. At least they didn’t sing “Edelweiss” because this was not an “Edelweiss” moment. Most of these Olympics weren’t.
No, most of these Olympics were downright fun—much to the chagrin of the folks over at the Deseret News. In about the same time it takes a two-man bobsled to cover the distance of a cocktail bar, they hammered out an editorial on Monday titled “Eliminate this kind of night life” that pretty much summarizes that the Olympics were an aberration. Seizing the opportunity to return to their preachy ways, the Deseret News editorial used the Saturday night “Beer Brawl” on Main Street as proof positive that alcohol—and all things and anyone associated with it—is not welcome in Salt Lake City. They found the needle in the haystack and, by God, you’re going to hear about it.
The editorial coyly blames “Bud World” for the trouble that occurred—Bud equals beer equals trouble. Hardly. The rowdies responsible didn’t get their beer at Bud World and weren’t even very good rowdies. Watch for the Deseret News to get the Van Komen spin on this one! I’ve seen worse trouble at BYU/Utah football games, where, without the presence of beer, BYU fans gleefully toss snowballs at opposing players, cheerleaders and fans. I don’t recall the Deseret News calling for a ban on snow, though. Or Mountain Dew.
The Deseret News failed to mention that despite just 20-some odd arrests on Saturday night, nearly a million visitors thoroughly enjoyed the offerings and security of downtown Salt Lake City over the past several weeks. Some consumed alcohol. Some didn’t. No big deal—unless your agenda is to make sure that no matter the consequence, no matter the benefit, you are inclined to paint all that you fear and oppose into some dark corner of evil. The Deseret News is very good at that.
So, we say “Auf Wiedersehen” to the Swiss—and what a shame it is that you couldn’t take the community-divisive editorial writers at the Deseret News with you.