Woog’s World / Take a seat for the Westport Olympics
The Winter Olympics are in full swing. Our own Julia Marino competes in snowboarding — “slopestyle” and “big air” specifically, neither of which existed when the ancient Greeks held their first Olympics. (It was summer, and they wrestled naked. While that might be a ratings draw now for some network, the choice of non-sportswear is probably not very wise now that winter games have been added. Besides, where would you put the sponsors’ logos?)
But I digress. Americans may or may not be glued to their television sets. We may or may not be excited about sports that did not exist until the X Games invented them. We may or may not know who already won and lost, because South Korea is so far away it’s already tomorrow there today. We may or may not have a squintillion other things to do, such as binge-watching every show Netflix and Amazon hurl at us; reading the news to find out what latest White House aide has now stepped into an alternate-universe controversy, and/or whether our stock portfolio has lost all of its money or just most of it, and avoiding like the plague everyone else in Westport who is coughing and wheezing with the flu or some other type of sickness.
But Westporters love competition. We compete to get our kids into the very best colleges (the winner gets a neat decal to put on the back of the parents’ car!). We compete to get a reservation at the newest, hottest restaurant in town, then never go back there again. We compete to build the tallest, widest, most fake-stone-encrusted home (with a side game: who can demolish the most trees).
So if you are already bored of this year’s Winter Olympics, or you haven’t watched at all, or you just don’t know why you should care about a figure skater or luger or biathlete for two weeks when you will never ever think about those sports for the next three years and 50 weeks, then these Westport Olympics are for you.
Main Street exodus. Store owners assemble downtown. A gun goes off. The person who leaves town the quickest wins. Bonus points are awarded if your departure provokes teeth-gnashing, head-shaking or finger-pointing, or involves the words “mom-and-pop shops” and the years 1950s, ’60s or ’70s.
Traffic regulation dash. A longtime Westport favorite, this event is open to anyone with a motor vehicle. Preference is given, however, to BMWs, Range Rovers and Maseratis. The goal is to barrel from one end of town to the other, paying as little heed to traffic lights, stop signs, other motorists, pedestrians and rules of civic courtesy as possible. Creativity counts! For example, which driver can enter a parking lot blowing past the most clearly marked “Do Not Enter” sign? Who can make a left turn after waiting the longest when the light turns red? And who can tailgate the car in front for the most miles, while simultaneously leaning on the horn, flashing high beams and texting?
Beach bitching. Introduced last summer — but truly a year-round sport — this competition is open to town residents only. (Officials are considering whether to allow Weston residents to enter — and if so, how much higher their entrance fee will be.) Winners are those who find the most number of ways to keep anyone else out of Compo Beach, while declaring loudly that this is not about keeping anyone from enjoying Compo Beach. (It’s simply about overcrowding, proper use of residents’ tax dollars, traffic, Uber drop-offs, and the perfectly fine existence of Sherwood Island just a mile away.)
Downhill state run. All Connecticut residents are invited to participate. The aim is to find the most number of reasons that the Land of Steady Habits has now become the worst state in the union. Taxes, transportation, infrastructure, poor government, economic inequality, the loss of corporate headquarters and the loss of manufacturing jobs are starting points. Participants add their own, in an exciting contest of doom-and-gloom. The awards ceremony is held every winter in Florida.
NIMBY race. A longtime favorite, in which competitors stake out favorite territory. The last person in goes first. He or she must defend that territory at all costs, against predators like affordable housing and/or senior housing, lighted athletic fields or a water tower. Weapons include petitions, lawsuits and comments posted on local blogs.
Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his “Woog’s World” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.