Touché, Olympics

The sounds of the Olympics have been background music in our house since the opening ceremony. The chant, “Go, USA,” is heard every night. We love our athletes. We also love learning about the athletes, some of whom have overcome so much to compete. Being a certified non-athlete, I don’t truly understand what goes on in a person’s brain that has them putting it all on the line for a personal best or a medal. I mean, I’m very competitive, but I’ve never pushed through playing Scrabble while nursing a splinter in my eye or a broken finger or even a mild headache.

I also have never had a personal coach invest time and energy in my pursuit of excellence at pinochle or our latest board game craze, Azul Summer Pavilion. If I did have a coach and by some miracle I actually won a competition on any level, I hope he would go crazy with enthusiasm like Dean Boxall did when Ariarne Titmus won the women’s 400m freestyle, dethroning USA star and one of my personal favorites of this Olympics, Katie Ledecky. Even though he nearly scared this unfortunately placed young woman out of her mind with his near psychotic celebration, I have to say, this is one of my very favorite Olympic moments, which is something that this young woman and I likely do not have in common. My hat is off to her – I don’t know if I would have been able to keep my composure like she did. She deserves a medal.

Have you noticed that these sports are really a slice of summer life, albeit on a different scale? A lot of these same events take place in our own yards or communities. Of course, we never had cameras broadcasting pick-up basketball games in the driveway, badminton or volleyball in the backyard, bike riding, swimming and diving in the pool, boxing matches among our kids, a canoe ride down the Wekiva River, or the church softball league, but I do have some treasured photos of all of these activities. I even practiced archery in my backyard as a kid.

Just another boxing match between a couple of my kids many years ago.

My granddaughter rides horses, my grandsons play football. There are several golfers in the family. My sister practiced gymnastics in our living room constantly when we were kids. Bob wrestled in high school. My daughter-in-law went to college on a volleyball scholarship. Another daughter-in-law is an excellent tennis player. Table tennis – bring it on.

All of these sports make up our life in some fashion. They all make sense to me. Except for fencing. Even Taekwondo, Judo, and Karate have their place for fitness and self-defense. They could come in handy. Shooting – I get that. But fencing simply doesn’t play into everyday life. For instance, someone approaches you when you make the poor choice of walking alone in a dark alley. A judo chop or karate throw would deter them. But where am I going to hide my sword? Can I get that through TSA when traveling? Are there retractable ones available? Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi!

I see tennis courts all over the place, but where can I go to have a bout of fencing? I don’t think I could retally stab somebody. I’d more likely pull a hammy in the process and leave myself even more vulnerable. I don’t want to be touched, that’s for sure; but I would love to say, “foiled again,” while holding a sword. With my athletic prowess, I think I should stick with Wii Sports Resort. I’d say the only part of me that could be injured there would be my pride, but in a recent bowling game with my six-year-old grandson, I think I pulled a muscle. (Please don’t tell him.)

Youngest grandson sticks the landing in the toddler climbing event.

My Olympic Memories

These past 16 days we watched a lot of the 2012 Olympics.  Following are my personal top ten memories, in no particular order:

Favorite Olympic Commentator Name:  Rowdy Gaines – I wondered what kind of parents name their kid “Rowdy?”  I looked him up and his given name is really Ambrose.  Then I wondered, what kind of parents name their kid “Ambrose?”

Favorite Spectator:  No, it’s not Aly Raisman’s parents, it’s the poor guy who had the bad luck to be seated behind them.  Hey, don’t judge this guy, he finally got to go to the Olympics and didn’t really get to see them after all.  And to top it off, the entire world watched as he had one of the most frustrating moments of his life.

“Hey, down in front!”

“I spent hundreds of dollars for this!”

Favorite Sport that I don’t think should be in the Olympics:  Rhythmic Gymnastics – I like watching it, but it makes me wonder what is next on the Olympic competitive field.  Maybe break dancing, which is also very physical, or possibly even synchronized break dancing.

Sport that I surprised myself by getting into:  Women’s Beach Volleyball.  Something about those three-time American champs who are in their thirties and still at the top of their game!

photo credit: Matt Kryger, USA Today/US Presswire

Favorite Athlete that I didn’t know before these Olympics:  Lolo Jones.  She didn’t get a medal but worked hard and, win or lose, displayed poise and grace.  I love her stand for purity and hope she’ll be a role model for young women today.

Favorite Team:  U.S. Women’s Track and Field – Individually these ladies show a lot of class, but when they work as a team like in the 4×400, they’re just amazing.

photo credit: cbsnews.com

Competitor I felt the most sorry for:  Stephan Feck from Germany.  This poor guy may have to change his name.  I hope he remembers that he beat out a lot of people to get his spot on the team.  Everybody has a bad day now and then; unfortunately for Stephan, his is down for posterity on YouTube.

Most Entertaining Person:  Usain Bolt.  Anybody else would sound arrogant and unbelievable saying the things he says.  He only sounds arrogant.  I love to watch him run.

Usain’s Trademark Lightning Bolt is Everywhere

The person I’ll miss most at the 2016 Olympics:  Michael Phelps.  Will there ever be another swimmer like him?

Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time
Photo credit: Jorge Silva, Reuters

Words I can’t bring myself to say no matter how many times Bob Costas refers to the Olympics this way:  “These Olympics.”  I can’t picture myself saying, “Hey, do you want to come over and watch “These Olympics” tonight?  Nope, I just won’t say that.

What are your favorite Olympic memories?