As the Elvis of the event—he didn’t invent rock ‘n’ roll as much as he helped popularize it among white American teens—I’ve got a complicated relationship with the Blue Jean Mile.
The Blue Jeans Mile has resulted in some very funny videos that, in a vacuum, wouldn’t look too out of place on a one-off Tim & Eric special about sports. That’s the good. On the other hand, I’m a miserly balding loser who hates fun and even more so, being associated with it. Ordinarily, these two competing factions of my personality—a love of slapstick body horror and a disdain for any activity that might result in high schoolers dabbing—tend to neutralize one another.
But if I’m dusting off my blogger’s badge and blogger’s gun to write this thing, I need to draw a hard line in the sand, which is actually the accumulated dust I’ve shaken off the aforementioned metaphorical implements. That is to say, I am back firmly in the “PRO” camp of the Blue Jean Mile.
That’s because on May 30th, at 6 p.m. EST, my good friend Johnny Gregorek will leap into a pair of denim trousers like a cartoon character. He will march his way over to a track in Westchester County, New York. He will attempt to lower the world record for the jean mile. And his wife Amy will stream the whole thing on his Instagram account for our entertainment, as well as for a worthy cause.
Now, for track’s diehard fans and elite athletes like Johnny, the possibility of a sub-four in denim may come across as a paltry consolation when waiting a year or longer for the sport’s flagship event. (After all, had the spring track season not been canceled, American folk hero and long-legged hunk Johnny G. would not be doing this.) But I’m here to tell you that this sort of gimmick will be way more fun than the Olympics, is far more ethical, and is just plain better. To wit:
– Leads to rapid gentrification and the forced displacement of marginalized communities in host cities
– Raises money for causes like Visa and Coca-Cola
– Infamously corrupt
– Includes golf
Johnny Running Around a Track in Pants
– Makes use of an existing venue
– Raises money for causes like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (please consider donating if you can)
– A standalone happening that’s part of a broader, decentralized and democratized network of events
– No golf
Sure, the Olympics have the history and the money behind them, but the extent to which this not-even-annual event dominates track & field’s scheduling is—in this blogger’s opinion—unhealthy and bad.
I know it’s not a perfect comparison, but the Olympic hegemony within the sport feels like if there was only one concert—let’s say, Los Lonely Boys playing at the Nevada State Fair in June—on the calendar that casual fans of music actually cared about.
But if the Boys performed a subpar rendition of their seminal work, people experiencing it for the first time might not be too interested in checking them out the next time they came to town; they might dismiss all music as boring; they’d certainly be disinclined to believe their friends who insist that there are other concerts out there, that they’re worth attending, and that because championship style racing doesn’t always lend itself to exciting outcomes, many other concerts are even superior to what’s taking place on the main stage at the State Fair.
Events like JG live-streaming his fancy pants mile have the potential to mix things up and simultaneously provide die-hard fans with a novel spectating experience, as well as casual observers with a goofy, easily-consumed spectacle that raises money for a good cause.
Giddy up, Johnny!