Olympics can't be controlled entirely

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Beijing 2008

August 10, 2008|By Rick Maese

The Sun's Olympic correspondents, Rick Maese and Kevin Van Valkenburg, are blogging back and forth to each other at baltimoresun.com/olympicsblog. An excerpt from From Baltimore to Beijing:

To Kevin, et al.,

There's a man who stands outside the restroom here at the Media Center. I know you've seen him. It's the same guy every day, and he stands there without fail. He says hello when you go in and wishes you a good day when you go out. (I keep thinking that this poor guy applied to be a volunteer because he wanted to be a part of the Olympics. How could he know that his part would be to monitor the bathroom activities of the media?) I'm not trying to drag this blog into a bout of potty humor, Kevin. But I don't think that man is stationed outside the bathroom as a simple courtesy. It's about control. It's about having someone stationed within 12 inches of every human being at these Olympics.

As the Chinese learned [yesterday], it doesn't matter how much planning you do, it doesn't matter how many billions of dollars you throw at the Games and it doesn't matter how many people call China home. You cannot control everything.

Certainly, what happened at the Drum Tower was a travesty. It's unfortunate and heart-breaking, and you can take whatever message from it that you'd like. But here's what I take away: Things are going to happen that are beyond anyone's control. An earthquake is going to strike. A madman is going to strike. Something is going to happen, no matter how hard you plan. I alluded to this in my previous post, but I was bothered - or perhaps I should say I was offended - that in Dujiangyan a city official would try to usher me to a bright, shiny tourist destination and even suggest that many people were better off after the earthquake than before. The message was clear: If it's said aloud, it must be true. But it's not.

Shame was not brought on China [yesterday] by a man with a knife. We should not think less of a nation because of a single act by a single person. He's one man among a billion. You can't plan for everyone's actions. The unfortunate stabbing does not reflect on China as a nation, just as the victims do not reflect on the United States. It's random. The world, at times, is random. Sometimes that's beautiful. Sometimes it causes great pain.

But you can't control it. No matter how hard you try.

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