Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Thoughts on Ravelympics, USOC, and a Funny Cat Picture.

This post will be different from my usual ramblings, but yesterday's news regarding Ravelry's Ravelympics and the United States Olympic Committee are just too big to ignore. All opinions are my own and mine alone. If you disagree with me, that's cool. We can even talk about it if you want @GynxYarns.

For those of you who are tired of the drama or don't really care, here is a complimentary picture of Othello in a funny hat.

 Othello says, "Lighten up, USOC!"

**EDIT** A statement has been released from the USOC, which you can read here.

If you haven't heard yet, yesterday knitters and crocheters created quite an uproar upon reading the letter that was sent to Ravelry regarding their bi-annual event known as the "Ravelympics," which takes place at the same time as the Olympics. You can read the letter and the discussion here on Ravelry, or if you're not on Ravelry, Gawker posted the letter here. Essentially, the United States Olympic Committee is demanding that Ravelry change the name of the Ravelympics.

I'm not going to pretend that I understand all the copyright and trademark legal mumbo jumbo, so I'm not going to even touch on that. What has me upset (and a lot of other crafters) is the hurtful and snotty ways in which they attacked our event and craft. The way this is worded, specifically:

"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."

In other words, someone trying to knit as many socks as possible for the duration of the Olympic games is an insult to the people with real skill: the athletes.

Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy sports. I support my local teams (I'm wearing a Texas Rangers shirt in that picture above) and my country's teams. Those people do have real skill. And it's inspiring. Inspiring so much so, that it makes those of us in different fields want to push ourselves to be the best at what we do and what we have real skill in. I might push myself just a bit harder in my next workout after seeing an exciting sporting event on TV. A company might use March Madness to inspire a contest amongst salespeople. And the Olympics might inspire two million plus knitters and crocheters to accomplish as much as we can in a few short weeks. We're not making fun of the athletes. We're honoring them.

I have a feeling that if there was a popular online group, say, for running, that had a competition during the Olympics to push their mileage or cut down their best time, and they happened to call this event the "Run-ympics," the USOC would have handled it differently. I'd imagine a shorter letter letting them know that they could not use the name as it is similar to the Olympics, without telling them that they're making the Olympics a joke. 

I want an apology. A lot of us do. And in today's world, with social media what it is, this can become a PR nightmare for the USOC, like the Regretsy vs. PayPal issue at the end of last year. If you agree, use the hashtag #ravelympics on Twitter and get it trending. Let @USOlympic know that you're upset.

If you made it through this whole post, congrats! You've earned another cat picture, this time from the blooper reel:

Come at me, bro.