Talking to Dad tonight as I was heading back out after eating to do some more dissertation work, I turned on the Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics to watch those with him for a few minutes and ended up transfixed by the spectacle of it all, not able to tear myself away. I'd missed the opening ceremonies and had seen glimpses in later reporting, and I was overwhelmed by the scale of it all. I grabbed a sandwich from the Greek sandwich guy around the corner a bit ago, Ziggie, and he was telling me that Beijing spent $68B on their Olympics, compared to $1.7B that U.S. spent in their last Games, or, if I recall correctly, the $16B he said Athens had spent on theirs. He's not the most reliable reporter in the world but I wouldn't be surprised. I was just disappointed to have muffed up seeing the men's marathon coverage, not that I expected full coverage of the whole event. The last time I can remember them showing a whole two-and-a-half hour coverage of the race was in 1988, where they broadcast it at something like 2am, and Kevin Long and I sat transfixed by the drama, which I think you can only detect if you're a distance runner yourself, and know what goes into all the minute jockying for position and mind games. I missed Aaron Smith being around this year, as he gave us all sorts of inside reporting during the Athens Olympics, being the only former professional athlete in the Theology program, and who knew all the people on the beach volleyball circuit. Another Erynn, this time a student of mine from last semester, kept me entertained with info about her sport, as she's Marquette's women's high jump athlete.
So today was was not only friede's birthday, but was also the official Sunday opening of the school year here at Marquette, with the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit at 4pm at the Gesu Church on campus, invoking the inspiration of the Spirit on the new school year. I could use that double as I attempt to finish this very Spirit-oriented book.