Monday, February 15, 2010

XXI

These are the 4th Olympic Games since I started blogging.  As usual, I can't wait to get back to watching!

We ate dinner at a restaurant tonight. (After what we spent to "fix" Paul's car, a few extra dollars and calories seemed inconsequential.) Adjoining the dining room was a bar area with several large televisions, all tuned to sports channels. And none tuned to The Olympics! All over the blogosphere people are complaining about how exceedingly boring the opening ceremonies are.

So jaded!

Or maybe it's just me; I'm a mutant freak.

But, man, I love the Olympics. I watch every moment I can, every two years.

Today I watched the U.S. women's hockey team batter China while jogging "four miles" on my trampoline.  (The Wii grossly overestimates distance, but makes me feel good at the same time.)  The girls were so inspired that they jumped on for two quick sprints each after my workout.  They love to see their faces on the leader board (they're each other's only competition at the "3 minute" level) and to call out the names of the Miis they recognize along the course.  "There's Grandma! I'm gonna catch up to Grandpa!"

And it's not an Olympic sport, but the girls have really been having fun Wii bowling lately, too.  Who says video games are bad for children?!  Not a parent cooped up inside with two young children on a snowy day, methinks.

A friend called yesterday.  "Are you watching short track?"

Of course I was.

"I bet you really got choked up at Celski's story, huh?"

Not really.  She knows that I get emotional about the Olympics and she likes to poke at me.  I appreciate that.  But it's not the human interest stories that get me all verklempt, it's the sport, baby.  It's the competition, the pushing at the boundaries of endurance, the successes and failures on the track, the slope, the ice, the mat, the course, the pool.

The Canadian women's hockey decimated Slovakia 18-0 in their first day of competition.  The hometown crowd cheered mightily for their beloved champions.  Then the Slovakians skated off the ice and the stadium gave them a standing ovationThat made me teary.

The Chinese team the American women clobbered 12-1 yesterday?  Sure, they suffered a decisive defeat.  But it wasn't a rout.  Toward the end of the match, one of the Chinese athletes scored the team's first goal.  She pumped her stick in the air and they all screamed in triumph.  All the way to the last bell, the entire team worked hard.  They didn't give up.  They were competing at the Olympics! and that is, in itself, a victory.

On the other end of the spectrum, I could watch Apollo Ono's first 1500 heat over and over and over all day.  (The semi-final and A final not so much.)  He's cool, he's relaxed, and then, BAM, out of nowhere he's going twice as fast as everyone else.

As for the Opening Ceremony, sure the parade drags a bit sometimes but it's fun with good company.  ("Good company" does not include Bob Costas being sarcastic and giving unqualified fashion commentary. Sidenote: I'm a huge Mary Carillo fan!)  And the show itself - thoughtfully included after the parade so the athletes could sit and watch - was breathtaking.  If I started every day of my life listening to kd lang sing Hallelujah, I think I'd be a better, happier person.  (Seriously, go listen. Tell me if you don't feel inspired to go run, write, invent, hug, love, give, be. And while you're there, check out the Define Canada slam. Brilliant.)

I love Canada.  I love Canadians!  Thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, athletes, and sponsors for a great show.

6 comments:

RobMonroe said...

I used to like the Olympics, but because the sport that I love (hockey) has itself become so international, unlike any other of the "big 4" (5 if you want to count NASCAR, which is big, even if it's not a real sport). Now I really don't care about chanting USA, USA! so much as I care about good sports on TV. THAT is why I can't get excited, I don't care who wins! I enjoy it, but won't invest in it. Oh well.

Carmie said...

The Olympics have become much better since the invention of DVR. Sorry, Bob Costas.

Sarahlynn said...

Agreed! Cutting way back on traditional commercials, soft focus personal essays, interviews, and Bob Costas really speeds up the show.

Rob, I get that. And I don't always root for America, actually. "My" athlete in any given competition depends on a number of factors, not least of which are underdoggieness and attitude.

Brittany said...

I'm with you. Olympics are good! If there were just a way to hear the music the Ice Skaters are skating too without the constant chatter of the commentators. It's much easier to enjoy the beauty of it without the constant warnings "This is the most difficult jump in the program." Enough already! I find myself hitting the mute button and just watching them skate.

Kathy G said...

I agree with you about kd lang. Her version of the (already beautiful) song sent chills down my spine.

Sarahlynn said...

Brittany, at first I thought they must have been warned to keep quieter this year. The first night wasn't too bad. But by last night they were talking straight through the routines again. I wonder what it's like to watch the routines in person without knowing who "has" a quad, where it falls in the program, and what each bobble it means for their scores.

Kathy, I've listened to it several times, now, and, just, wow.