Losing Respect for the Olympic Committee

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For years, the Olympics has been a gathering of people all around the world, celebrating their crafts in the sports community through friendly competition. It dates back to ancient Greece and the various areas in Greece, but now is a way of globally extending the hand of friendship from country to country. Numerous sports are places for friendly competition in both the summer and winter Olympic games and the world rallies to support their countries as everyone competes. It is a place for friendship, celebration, and acknowledging the work that people put into their craft.

However, as time goes on, it feels as though the Olympic Committee is forgetting what the Olympics is supposed to be about.

Through out the internet are various locations in which people from around the world come together and interact with each other. Most notably are the social networks of Facebook and MySpace. However, various other social networks have cropped up as well. There are networks for those the Ren Faire community, Sports communities, crafting communities, media groups, etc. You name it, it exists. Including an ever popular social network known as Ravelry.

Ravelry is an online community for those who knit and crochet. It is a place for people to come together and organize their stash in an easy to understand way. It gives a place to celebrate finished projects and keep track of ongoing projects. It allows members to look up patterns in their vast library of patterns and start the projects themselves, even providing a way to pay for the pattern if it is one that needs to be bought (and ravelry does not make money off the sale, it goes directly to the pattern owner). On top of this, there are numerous forums and groups in which people can interact with each other. They can share questions and tips about their craft or talk everyday life and just get to know each other.

You may have noticed that even I have linked to the site on my page here. I am a huge fan of the community. I am a member of 8 groups on the site. I use it to keep track of the 43 skeins of yarn I have, the current projects I am working on, and to find patterns for new projects. It has encouraged me to better my skills in my craft and provided me with a great supportive community as well.

Every two years, during the Olympic games, Ravelry holds the Ravelympics. It is a time when the knitters of this community (from around the world) gather together and knit as a group to celebrate our craft and knit. There are even some prizes for those that start and complete projects during the games. All the while watching the actual Olympics and celebrating the crafts of those competing in the games.

Actual Olympics – People from around the world coming together to celebrate their craft (in this case, athleticism and sports) through friendly competition.

Ravelympics – People from around the world coming together to celebrate their craft (in this case, knitting and crocheting) through friendly competition.

They sound pretty much the same to me and both seem to celebrate the spirit of what the Olympics actually are. Not to mention, the number of people on the site who actually do crafts related to the actual Olympic games in honor of their competing country or favorite sport or what have you.

Despite their similarities and despite how this crafting community has decided to celebrate the Olympics, the USOC has sent Ravelry a cease and desist order. In their letter to the site owners, they claim that “We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

How does knitting a project fail to recognize or appreciate the hard work of the athlete?

I am an athlete. I have my black belt in Tang Soo Do. I am working on becoming a stronger runner and fighter. I shoot archery on a regular basis. I ski. I snowboard. I know just how much work goes into sports and just how much dedication is needed. I know for a fact that my skills are no where near Olympic worthy, but I never have once doubted the amount of work that Olympians put into their craft and I am always impressed by the work they do.

That being said, I am also a knitter, a sewer, and an amateur costumer. I have made numerous knitting projects (of which, 23 have been posted to Ravelry since I became a member just over a year ago). I have made many sewing projects, including full Renaissance outfits and corsets. I am regularly helping friends design and create costumes. Again, while I am far from the best, I know how much work goes into my craft and am constantly impressed by the works of those who craft for a living.

If anything knowing the meticulous work that I put into both my sports gives me the determination to not give up on my crafting as well as the persevearance to know that sometimes good things take a long time to develop. The work I put into my crafting reminds me that every little detail counts and something as simple as the angle of my block in a martial arts form could mean the difference between winning or losing in my division.

So, how does my knitting during the Olympics (especially if I chose to knit something that is Olympic themed) disrespect the athletes and fails to recognize their hard work? If anything, my knowledge of crafting has given me a stronger appreciation for the dedication of the Olympians that are competing and the future Olympians who are training for their chance at the gold medal.

It seems to me that the USOC has lost all site on what the Olympic games mean. This petty act has definitely cause the USOC to lose any ounce of respect that I may have had for them, because that is all their actions show: Petty, Egotistical, Elitest, and Judgemental people who are not respectful of the work of any craft other than sports. Seems to me that those who run the Olympics need a crash course in what it means to be an Olympian.

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Gasp! It’s a Quiz!

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One of my friends from LARP designed a quiz about roleplaying and characters. Personally I don’t normally do quizzes. I think that they are a waste of time. I think that they ask some stupid questions with the claim of “Getting to know” a person and in the end, all you get is the face that the person wants to put up to the world.

I am a roleplayer. In many ways, I only show the world the face that I am choosing to put up at that moment. In many ways I feel most comfortable when I am putting up that face to the world. I do theater, renaissance faires, tabletop roleplaying games, collaborative fiction, and live action roleplaying games. In all of these settings, I am building characters and putting on their mask for a time being.

For some people, it looks like I hide. I spend more time wearing a mask than being myself. But for me, it is a chance to explore who I really am and become comfortable in that skin.

In high school, I wore a mask. I never let anyone see the real me and those who did were few and far between. Even then, they only received a rare glimpse. I gotta say, in high school I was the epitome of the negative stereotype that comes to roleplayers. I was hiding. I was terrified. Though, ironically, the only roleplaying I did was theater and collaborative fiction and at the time, I saw neither as roleplaying. I saw both as just a chance to explore creativity and the way people think. I felt most comfortable on the stage. I could be anyone and no one got to see the real me. I was safe, up there. I know many people do not feel the stage is a safe place because everyone is looking at them. But for me, there is no safer place. At the time, I felt it was because I could be anyone but me. Now, I know better.

I started in college with tabletop roleplaying. I was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons at about the same time that I was introduced to Live Action Roleplaying. I was nervous, but I gave it a try.

That is when I started to realize who I actually was. That was when I started being honest with my friends. That was when I finally started exploring who I was as a person and what I enjoyed.

I have played numerous characters: Jedi, Sith, Prisoners, Slaves, Rich Assholes, Vampires, Hobbits, Elves, Rangers, Rogues, Elements, normal villagers, convicts, etc… And I began to search for reasons why my characters acted the way they did. Or I would build their backstory and try to play them in a way that is most fitting of someone who lived that life. I would research the psychology behind individuals who lived various lives. I would research various personality disorders and such that people might have and why. I began looking for answers on why people acted the way they did.

Then I started wondering why I acted the way I did.

I started looking at everything I did, including the reasons I played characters I did. I tended to write a lot of characters with trust issues and things that they hid. Why did I do that? Why did I sit and write through the process of gaining trust in people over and over again? I started to realize that all the hiding I did in high school meant I didn’t know how to trust people and I was afraid. I was so afraid of trusting people that I started practicing how to trust people through my characters.

As I got more and more involved in my roleplaying games, I started realizing that the people I was roleplaying with were ones that I was trusting far more than others. I started trusting those that my characters fought with. I started opening up and being completely honest with my roleplay friends. So, once again, I thought about why. I know that in theater, when two characters argue, if the actors dislike each other, the argument is so harsh it is awkward and hard for the audience to take in. Whereas the audience is more comfortable when two characters are arguing but the actors are close friends. I realized that those my characters hated and those my characters loved were people I loved. They were giving me a safe place to practice what I needed without judging me at all. All of us had messed up characters, so there was no reason to judge. And there is a level of trust involved in portraying racism or hate with someone. You need to trust that they remember it is just your character and not actually about them. You need to trust that if you actually hurt them, they’ll be honest with you so that you know not to do it again. And if they’re the one portraying this hate to your character, you trust that they remember it is you behind the mask and that they will not actually try to hurt you.

In portraying my messed up characters and watching them learn to trust, I was also learning to trust.

So, am I hiding when I roleplay? In some ways, yes. But in many ways, roleplaying is teaching me to take off my mask and be honest with everyone.

So, without further ado, my friend’s roleplaying quiz and my answers.

Introductory Questions

  1. How long heave you been roleplaying? Well, I started doing theater when I was really young in various school Christmas pageants and then through dance class. I started collaborative fiction (forum based rp/mud rp/whatever you want to call it) in middle school. But I really came out of my shell a few years ago when I started D&D and LARP.
  2. What medium do you use? (ex: Dungeons and Dragons, MUDs, Live Action, hand puppets, etc.) I use tabletop (D&D, Star Wars d20, Dystopia Rising, Harn, World of Darkness, etc), MUD (used to do a Lord of the Rings MUD. Currently do a Star Wars MUD), Live Action (Heroic Realms and Dystopia Rising), Renaissance Faires (yes I consider that RP somewhat), and strait theater as well.
  3. Who are your favorite characters? Jeanie Thomas from my Dystopia Rising Larp and Cora Treeclimb from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Though Elena Zahav from my Star Wars mud is also pretty high up there.
  4. Do you cross-play? (Play characters that are not of the gender you identify with) Totally. Though, it is usually in a MUD or tabletop than any other setting.
  5. Who was your first character? My first character that I actually knew I was roleplaying (as opposed to my first character ever, who was a ram in a christmas pageant) was Eliora Greenleaf, an elf in the Lord of the Rings setting. (Though since then I have used the name again, lol)
  6. Who is your latest character? Latest as in most recently designed character? Kira Sheehan or Zephyr. Kira is the character I am designing when my current Dystopia Rising LARP character dies off. Zephyr is the character I designed for the Ren Faire I am in starting this coming weekend. Latest character as in most recently played would be Jeanie Thomas of my Dystopia Rising LARP
  7. Most Popular Character? Jeanie Thomas. Most players seem to like her. Many characters like her too, which is really cool.
  8. Which character is most like you? Ooo! That’s a tough one, since I tend to play up aspects of myself in many of my characters. Though I have a lot in common with Jedi Master Kariime Zahav, Jeanie Thomas, Cora Treeclimb, and Eliora Arduck Aranel. But most in common, I’m not too sure about.
  9. Who would you like to be more like? None of them! They all have some really icky lives to deal with and I wouldn’t want to actually deal with those kinds of lives, lol.
  10. Who’s the character you love but haven never played? Kira Sheehan. I am designing her for when Jeanie Thomas dies and I am so excited to play her one day. She has such a unique personality that I am looking forward to the challenge.

Which character would be most likely to

  1. Murder someone? Corla, my Togrutan sith.
  2. Have a mental breakdown? Jeanie Thomas
  3. Roleplay? Elena Zahav
  4. Do something stupidly dangerous for fun? Jeanie Thomas or Elena Zahav. They are both kinda reckless like that.
  5. Lay down his or her life for a stranger? Jedi Master Kariime Zahav
  6. Refuse to ask for directions? Cora Treeclimb
  7. Play in a band? Eliora Arduck Aranel or Ellen A’Dale (both are bards)
  8. Perform Shakespeare? Eliora Arduck Aranel or Ellen A’Dale
  9. Star in a horror movie? If you mean the character of mine would be the star actress in the film, then my two bards. If you mean be the lead character, then Jeanie Thomas or Spot Conlon
  10. Star in an action movie? If you mean be the lead actor, then my bards. If you mean be the lead character then Spot Conlon, hands down.
  11. Star in a sitcom? If you mean be the lead actor, then my bards. (That sounds repetitive now, doesn’t it. lol) If you mean be the lead character, then Jeanie Thomas (she’s awkward enough for those funny moments) or Elena Zahav and her mother Kariime Zahav, but they’d be together. It’d be one of those family shows where you laugh at the situations the family gets into.
  12. Star in a Porn? Kira Sheehan. Though Corla might as well possibly.
  13. Star in a Videogame? Elena Zahav. She’d both design it and make herself the lead pilot of the space battle epic, lol.
  14. Get married? Kariime, she did get married. It failed.
  15. Fall in love? Kariime and Jeanie.
  16. Make the world a better place? Kariime and Jeanie (they are incredibly similar actually, despite some major differences, lol)
  17. Regret his or her life? Jeanie Thomas

Word Association: Relate each word to one of your characters.

  1. Love: Kariime Zahav
  2. Hate: Jeanie Thomas
  3. Money: Corla
  4. Masks: Masque (yes, I have a character named Masque and no, I did not associate the two due to the name, lol) or Cora Treeclimb
  5. Flowers: Eliora Greenleaf
  6. Lies: Cora Treeclimb
  7. Music: Eliora Arduck Aranel or Ellen A’Dale
  8. Home: Elena Zahav
  9. Tragedy: Jeanie Thomas
  10. Sex: Kira Sheehan
  11. Violence: Ayliise
  12. Black: Ayliise
  13. White: Kariime Zahav
  14. Fire: Jeanie Thomas
  15. Ice: Corla
  16. Hope: Kariime Zahav

The Best and the Most

  1. Who of your characters is the most realistic? None of them, since they’re all in non-realistic settings. However, if you mean most realistic to the setting? Then probably Jeanie Thomas and Kira Sheehan. I put the most work into being realistic to the setting for my Dystopia Rising LARP characters.
  2. Who is the most fun to play? Jeanie Thomas. Hands down!
  3. Who do you respect most? Kariime Zahav
  4. If you had a popularity contest within your group of characters who would win? Corla (for all the reasons that the “popular girls in high school would win too” *gag*)
  5. With who’s views do you agree with most? Kariime Zahav
  6. Who kisses the best? Kira Sheehan or Corla
  7. Who would react best to realizing he or she is going to die? Kariime Zahav
  8. Who would react the worst? Jeanie Thomas
  9. Who would do best in school? Jeanie Thomas
  10. Write out a high school transcript for your characters. (Grades in English, Math, Science, History, Foreign Languages, Gym, and teacher’s notes) Since I have sooo many characters, I will not do them all. Only the ones I l have most recently played in some of my favorite games. The four grades next to each class are each year, k?
    • Kariime Zahav: English B C B+ B, Math B+ B A- B, Science A+ A B+ A-, History, B B B- B, Foreign Languages B B- C B, Gym A+ A+ A A+
    • Elena Zahav: English C C C C, Math A+ A A+ A-, Science A+ A- A A, History B B+ B B-, Foreign Languages B B+ A- B, Gym A A+ A- A
    • Eliora Arduck Aranel: English A+ A+ A+ A+, Math B B- B B+, Science C D C- D+, Foreign Languages A A+ A+ A, Gym C D D C
    • Jeanie Thomas: English D D+ C C-, Math A A+ A A, Science A+ A+ A+ A+, History B C B- B, Foreign Languages F D- D F, Gym B B+ B B-
    • Cora Treeclimb: English B B+ B B-, Math B+ B+ B B-, Science B+ B- B B, History B C B B+, Foreign Languages A A+ A A+, Gym A+ A+ A+ A+
  11. Who would be most interesting drunk? Describe them. Jeanie Thomas. She goes from awkward and very rigid almost to thinking that everything is hilarious!
  12. Which one of your characters would make the best roommate? Elena Zahav
  13. Dance partner? Kira Sheehan
  14. Husband/Wife? Kariime Zahav
  15. Super villain? Corla
  16. Teacher? Kariime Zahav
  17. Business partner? Eliora Arduck Aranel
  18. Friend? Elena Zahav

Random Inquiries

  1. Who would resent knowing they’re a character? Jeanie Thomas. There was actually a moment, where a follower of the Telling Visions (the Rev) essentially told her that and that the signal was directing every moment of her life, she flipped out and told him that she didn’t believe him. She also will never talk to the Rev again.
  2. Who wouldn’t mind? Eliora Arduck Aranel. She’d be rather amused by the irony of the whole thing.
  3. Which of your characters do you like as a person? Kariime Zahav
  4. Who would you most like to actually meet? Ellen A’Dale
  5. Who would you not like to actually meet? Kira Sheehan or any of my sith, lol. We would not get along.
  6. Your alien and bestial characters, what would they look like if they were human? Ayliise would have a lot of tats and piercing and probably be one of those chicks with a shaved head. Corla would be a stereotypical hippie but with a nasty mean side, maybe like one of the people who would get sucked into the cults kinda people.
  7. Who would be happy in a boring, safe little job in a cubicle? Cora Treeclimb. Anything to not get noticed that would give her access to searching through public data.
  8. Who dreams of flying? Elena Zahav, however, it would be in a ship that she specifically designed.
  9. Pick a character and outline his or her soulmate. Jeanie’s soul mate is a scientist and a Darwinist. They are accepting of who she is and don’t let that ever get in the way of anything. They speak simply without using any figuretive language of any kind. They are gentle and give warnings of anything unexpected and they always explain themselves. The only time they think of themselves as being superior is when they compare the current version of them to a previous version of them. (Darwinist, lol)
  10. Who would like you? As a person, not a creator. Ellen A’Dale
  11. Who is happy? Kariime Zahav
  12. Who probably drove his or her parents crazy as a kid? Elena Zahav, then again, she’s a teen and still driving her mother crazy. lol
  13. What animal most suits the personality of each of your characters? Since I have sooo many characters, I will not do them all. Only the ones I l have most recently played in some of my favorite games.
    • Kariime Zahav – Mother Bear
    • Elena Zahav – Otter
    • Eliora Arduck Aranel – Parakeet
    • Jeanie Thomas – Abused puppy dog
    • Cora Treeclimb – Raccoon
  14. What color most suits them? Since I have sooo many characters, I will not do them all. Only the ones I l have most recently played in some of my favorite games.
    • Kariime Zahav – Light pink
    • Elena Zahav – Bright yellow
    • Eliora Arduck Aranel – Pale blue
    • Jeanie Thomas – Bright bright neon green
    • Cora Treeclimb – midnight blue