Thursday, August 29, 2002

Tally Ho, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

The program commission of the International Olympic Committee says it wants to dump baseball, softball and the modern pentathlon. OK, baseball and softball, maybe. But dump the modern pentathlon? Say it ain’t so.

They just can’t dump the modern pentathlon. Think of all those poor kids in the ‘hood who will be crushed. They’ve been training so hard.

In case you just were thawed from being cryogenically frozen for a hundred years, the modern pentathlon consists of swimming, cross-country running, pistol shooting, horse riding and fencing. (Fencing, pistols, and horses and they call it modern? What did the old one have, saber tooth tiger wrestling, mammoth riding and fire building?)

Sure the cynics say they should call the modern pentathlon what it really is: The bored rich white people-athon. Others less evolved ask why they don’t just add croquet, polka dancing, yachting, a poetry reading, and a pot luck dinner and make it the ultimate white man’s decathlon? But what do they know?

Let’s face it, if the modern pentathlon is axed, who knows what could fall next? Even the Olympic mainstays like synchronized swimming, table tennis and badminton could go. And then where would we be?

Some would question the validity of the modern pentathlon in today’s society. Popracosh, I say. One never knows when one might accidentally find oneself in the middle of a re-make of an Errol Flynn movie where riding a steed, fencing, and swimming are vital necessities.

I contacted a modern pentathlete to get his opinion, Sir Wrigley “Biffy” Von Hampton, of the Del Mar Hamptons. Once informed of the pending decision to knock out the Modern Pentathlon from the Olympics, Biffy was, in a word, crushed.

Me: Biff, how are you taking the fact that your event, the modern pentathlon might be cut from the Olympics?

Biff: Not very well, ol’ sport. Luckily, however, it is the cocktail hour, so I instructed Jeeves to make mine a triple.

Me: I hate to see you like this, Biffy. Why the extra booze?

Biff: I simply must fortify myself to break this bad news to Mumsy. She was so looking forward to me winning another gold medal. It would have brought my total to an even four.

Me: I can see how that would be tough.

Biff: And what of my pentathlon ponies? Why, they this news will put them right off of their feed. I simply can’t imagine the teasing they will get from our polo ponies.

Well, there you have it, folks. There is simply no measuring the devastating impact canceling the modern pentathlon will have on Biff and the other dozen or so other rich ex-spies. In fact, if this decision is not reversed and the Modern Pentathlon reinstated at the Olympics, rumor has it that the Modern Pentathletes will vote to go out on strike.

Nah, that would be stupid. After all, who on earth would care about a bunch of rich athletes threatening to strike?