Sunday, August 12, 2012

Loving the Olympics, sort of

Did you enjoy the Olympic Games?

I think I did.

But I had to catch myself a couple times — there were moments when I had to reel myself in and remember where I was and who I am.

Who I am, for example, is not a big follower of, say, water polo. This sport is kind of like soccer in a swimming pool, where a number of players  — not quite sure how many — bob around in about eight feet of water and where one team tries to zip a nerf ball (or the waterproof equivalent — surf ball?) past an opposing team's goalie while everybody treads water.

I don't guess there are any professional water polo leagues around, but I could be wrong. I may google this to find out, if I decide I really care.

Anyway, here I was the other day, not really a water polo fan, yelling at my television, hearing myself scream in ever increasing octaves that the United States women were getting jobbed when Australia was given a potential game-tying penalty shot with one second left to play. Australia made the shot and sent the game (match? scrum? flotsam?) into overtime.

I was crushed. Until I remembered who I am. So wait a minute. I'm getting riled up over water polo? Not in this life, brother. Are you kidding me?

And yet...

Then there's the equestrian events. Why don't they give the medals to the horses? Seems to me they are the real athletes here. Nevertheless, I spent at least a half hour watching dressage the other day before I remembered who I am and switched channels. Usually, the only time I'm aware of dressage is when my wife is getting ready for work and she needs me to button the back of her dress or help tie a back bow. You know. Dressage. I think it's why husbands were invented.

I wish somebody would give the astounding U. S. women's gymnastics team some elocution lessons, and particularly Aly Raisman. The post-performance interviews done in droning monotone were a little grating. Any why did they change their team nickname from the Fab Five to the less friendly Fierce Five? Something about not wanting to be confused with the University of Michigan's Fab Five basketball team from back in the early 1990s. To tell you the truth, I really don't think I was ever going to confuse Jalen Rose with Gabby Douglas in this lifetime. Oh well. Those wacky fierce somersaulters, God bless them.

Then, of course, there's U.S. champion swimmers Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps telling the world that everybody pees in the pool (see here). Yikes. Upon hearing this confession, a friend of mine noted wryly, "No wonder they wear goggles." As for myself, I just figured that the whole thing gives new definition to the term "Olympic Gold."

You know, I spent two whole summers in my youth dumping bags of alum and opening containers of chlorine into a public swimming pool trying to get the pH factor just right because of pee-ers (not peers) like Phelps and Lochte. Sheesh.

To be sure, watching some of these sports that I never knew existed has been somewhat refreshing. There's admittedly a certain amount of pride in pulling for athletes from your country, and I guess that's why I can get riled up every quadrennial over whitewater kayaking or quadruple sculls without cox rowing. USA, USA, USA.

It's why I can't wait for the next winter Olympics so I can cheer for curling. Man, a broom and a stone. What's more basic than that?

But when the Olympics start trending toward rhythmic this and synchronized that, I'm a little lost, a little out of my element. Really? Waving ribbons and hula hoops is an Olympic sport, and baseball and softball are not? To my mind, rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming seem a little more like choreography than actual mano a mano (or womano a womano) competition, but what do I know?

Not much, apparently.

Hey, I've enjoyed these Olympics. But I'm ready to move on.

Thank God the Little League World Series is underway.

No comments:

Post a Comment