Tag Archives: olympics

I’m How Old?

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Time plays mind games, I’m sure of it.

Watching the Olympics this time around has caused me to do a little minor soul searching. It used to be that the Olympians looked old to me, largely because they were all older than I was. Sixteen. Eighteen. Twenty. Twenty two. They were shiny, muscular adults, and I watched them in awe, my kid brain trying to figure out if I could ever be that awesome.

Now I watch the Olympics and realize, to my horror, that now they’re the kids, and I’m the adult. In fact, in Olympian years, I’m a granny. Twenty-year-olds are referred to as “mature,” “experienced,” and “close to retirement,” since “these will be her last Olympic games.”

Eek.

These children, for children they are, have accomplished more in two weeks than I have in my entire life. They have worked harder, dreamed bigger, and conquered more obstacles than I’ve ever even thought of attaining to. These kids aren’t just talented, they’re dedicated. It’s that dedication that I envy. So far I’ve stuck to blogging every day for a year. And school—for twelveish years. Whoop-de-doo-da.

Everybody’s got a different journey. We can’t all be Olympians. We can’t all be visionaries or people who change the world through a single invention. We can’t all be teachers or pastors or evangelists or presidents or earth-shakers. Not everyone can be a C.E.O. or a V.P. or a V.I.P. The world needs bloggers. And postmen. And bakers and plumbers and hairdressers and tailors and accountants. Librarians. Secretaries.

But whatever it is we do, we all need to be dedicated to it.

So no one can let it bother him too much that he’s not a world-record breaking sprinter. While everyone ought to appreciate someone else reaching their goal—like getting a gold medal or any color medal at all—that doesn’t mean that all of our goals need to be the same. Me, I just want to write stuff. You…well, you do whatever it is you do best.

But still…sixteen years old. I was happy just to get an A on a test when I was sixteen. I’m older than the Olympians.

Am I allowed to feel old now?

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Conflict

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Watching the Olympics often leads to mixed emotions on the part of the viewers. The more patriotic of us are very adamant that the competitors from our country are the best, sometimes regardless of the outcome of the events. We cheer the loudest for the ones who represent our nation.

Well, tonight, I am watching the women’s beach volleyball final. Kessy and Ross versus May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings. They’re both American.  

I’m conflicted. Who do I cheer for?

“Go U.S.–oh…..uh……….go you!”

Hugs

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There’s a lot of hugging involved in the Olympics. People hug right and left. Volleyball teams do group hugs after every point scored, whether they scored the point or not. Both men’s and women’s teams. It makes sense: a lot of emotion gets rolled into the Olympic games. A lot of emotions, a lot of hugs. The rowers hug. The gymnasts hug. All kinds of hugs: over-the-shoulder hugs, bear hugs, light hugs, grasp-of-death hugs…if these people keep it up, hugging will become the next official Olympic sport.

How would you like to be able to say you were an Olympic hugging champion?

Hugs should be simpler than they are. All that’s involved in a hug is your arms going around someone else’s torso while that someone does the same to you. But hugs are complicated, apparently, because it’s dashed difficult to give a hug without it ending up awkward.

If you happened to grow up in an environment that wasn’t as touchy-feely as most of the world (like I did), you may find hugging particularly difficult. You may be a victim of the all-to-common face smashing faux pas. You go to hug someone, can’t figure out which direction the other person’s face is going, overcompensate, and end up practically locking lips with the person you honestly were just trying to hug.

Or the hand placement faux pas. This tends to happen when hugging someone of the opposite gender with whom you have a totally platonic relationship. In opposite gender hugs, the typical procedure is to allow one hand to go up over the shoulder and one down under the other person’s arm. Both hugger and huggee try to follow the standard of one arm up, one arm down. The difficulty occurs when both huggers try to put the same hands up and the same hands down, resulting in an awkward unintentional high-five and a restart. Or worse, you end up with the hugger having both hands up and the huggee with both hands down, which for whatever reason is considered uncomfortably intimate. Still trying to figure that one out.

Maybe we could dissolve the tension of an awkward hug by blurting out scores, like hugging really is an Olympic event. You know, just kind of break away from the hug-in-progress and blurt out “That was an 8. You need to work on your facial placement.”

Or maybe that would only make things worse…

This is why I stay at home and write and don’t go to parties.

Olympiac

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There is no T.V. at the Rambler household. I know that’s a radical statement; after all, just about every household in America has an idiot box in every room. But we have no cable, no dish, no Netflix streaming—we can’t even pick up public broadcasting with rabbit ears anymore, thanks to the permanent switch to digital. We have a television and a collection of over a hundred DVDs, but no T.V.

We don’t like the noise.

However, comma, every two years, we have to make an exception to the rule.

Mother and I are Olympiacs. Neither of us is particularly interested in sports—a B in P.E. has presently biased me against athletics—but the Olympics are special. The Olympics are not like other sports events. For us, the Olympics have always been about national pride, the stories behind each athlete, exploring the culture of the host country. It’s about cheering on America. It’s about watching gifted, dedicated people giving everything they’ve got for the sake of giving everything they’ve got.

Nothing makes me prouder than watching an Olympian mouth the words to the national anthem.

We like watching the “pretty” events, like gymnastics, figure skating, synchronized diving. Frankly, I just enjoy watching people do things that I, in a million years of training, could never do.

What bothers me is when the commentators go on and on about a minor mistake that a competitor made. Or getting their spandex in a wad over a competitor getting a silver medal instead of a gold. Come on, folks. Second at the Olympics is a stinkin’ huge deal. That means you can backflip, handspring, sprint, butterfly stroke, or dive better than 99 percent of the global population. Shucks, the metal color’s different. What a crying shame.

A medal doesn’t necessarily make one a champion.

But Mother and I sit in front of the screen, biting our nails, cheering loudly through every race and routine, astounded by the complexity and remarkable design of God’s human creations. The talent. The skill.

It’s worth getting cable for two weeks just to watch it.