Monday, February 10, 2014

Can't Talk. Watching Olympics.

I love the Olympics so much. I know I'm not supposed to love these Olympics because there are lots of concerns about Russia and gay rights and human rights and the killing of stray dogs in the street and I share those concerns, I really, really do.

But then I watch the opening ceremony and I look at every single athlete who marches past the television camera and I think of their love for sport and how it must feel to compete for your country at something that you have given your life and your sweat and your body to and I start cheering like a complete goofball.

I don't care what the sport is; after I put my kids to bed, I turn on the TV and I sit and marvel at the competitors and also what an expert I have suddenly turned into on any given sport. ("Ooooh, little bit of a bobble on the snowslope rail there.)

I think about what it must feel like to stand at the top of a hill of moguls and look at the bottom and prepare for the 25 seconds that lie between.

I wonder what it was like the first time a now-seasoned skier flew off of a jump. (I stood at the top of an Olympic ski jump in Lake Placid once and it looked scary as hell.)

I imagine how tired a figure skater's legs must be after a four-minute program that she makes look effortless. I marvel at the athletes who compete in multiple events and imagine how exhausted they must be.

I think about the athletes who know they won't win anything but who are proud just to be there. (Damn, I would be too.)

I listen to the commentators and how excited they are and think about the fact that there are many experienced judges for every single idiosyncratic event (even curling). I also watch the status of Bob Costas' eye and wonder when he's going to appear with an eye patch.

I watch the faces of the athletes who lose the gold medal in speed skating by some infinitesimal amount of time and think about the capriciousness of any given race.

I remember how tired my body is after a five or six or seven mile slow run and wonder what it must be like to be as fit as any one of the athletes who walked in that opening ceremony.

I watch the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat. I chew up the human interest stories that NBC churns out. (Alex hates them so much.) I cheer every athlete and every sport and every event—qualifiers, finals, whatever. I know that sports that seem so simple as I watch them really involve unimagined quantities of focus and strategy and training and strength—physical and mental.

I love every second.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks. I have some cheering to do.


  1. I am the same way! I went through every single thing scheduled and recorded everything and anything with the XXII olympics title :)

  2. This exuberance is reason number 46376 why I love you.
    I'm finding myself drawn in too. I wanted to boycott but I'm drawn in.

  3. And apparently I like the phrase "drawn in". I blame Bob Costas' eye.

  4. Me toooooo! I love the Olympics. I know the organization is totally corrupt and yet I just can't help myself. I have it filling up my DVR so Josh can see as much of it as possible too. :)

  5. And I love this post. And it makes me want to watch.

  6. OMG, I so agree with everything you said. The only part you left out is how I get all teary when I watch the reaction of someone realizing they just won the gold!

  7. Everything you said! I have loved the Olympics since my older brother ran the torch through our hometown for the Lake Placid games. We have the added benefit that we're Canadian-American, so we get to cheer for both teams. :)

    Y'know what story got me? The girl who broke her knee on her practice run on the moguls course, who asked "do I still get to call myself an Olympian?" Then watching her walk the Parade of Nations on crutches. Get on with your bad self, Olympian.

  8. Enjoy!
    Do you remember the Lillehammer [sp] winter Olympics? Well, I visited Lillehammer in September, years ago. It is a beautiful small town. They still had the interesting props / characters from the Olympics opening ceremony, and they actually used the ski jumps for practice *In September*. Yikes. Ski jumping onto grass.
    This year, I missed the opening ceremony plus the first few days of events. THEN today I thought my TV didn't get the Olympics. [I am the last person in the DC area who receives TV over an antenna. It's true. I have FiOS for internet, so I'm not all old school.]
    Now, I'm watching it! Channel 4! Which usually plays the news, weather, and very old movies, for reasons unknown to me.
    Yay Olympics.
    My favorite is figure skating, so I hope I haven't missed all of those events.

  9. Also, I completely understand the issues with the location of this year's event. Because all people deserve dignity. That goes without saying.

  10. btw, I might have been mistaken about the ski jumping. They probably had artificial snow. Also, you had the option to take the lift to the top of the jump; however I was too scared to do so. Not surprising. :)
    OK, back to watching the Olympics, though I'm not fond of snowboarding. Did you know that snowboarding is one of the top risk factors for ankle fractures? It is.

  11. Totally agree. Tonight, my trainer and I had a very in-depth discussion while working out about Bob'e eye(s), Putin's bare-chested portraits, and the mis-distributed wealth of Russia. I've even put the last 7 episodes of Breaking Bad on hold in favor of the Olympics. I'm, like, as dedicated as an athlete. ;-)

  12. Your country thanks you for your sacrifice.

  13. Yes! Love that part!

  14. That is SO cool that he ran the torch. Wow!

    And, yeah, that mogul story got me too.

  15. I DO remember Lillehammer. My mom lived in Norway for several years, and I think she went up there during those Olympics. Although I might be making that up. I know she's been to Lillehammer. Norway is gorgeous.

    Jack and I had a similar experience when we went to Lake Placid last year. We even rode on the bobsled. Jack LOVED it.

  16. i love the olympics so so much and i LOATHE nbc with a burning passion. LOATHE. all i want to do is watch what i want to watch, and it's just impossible. the app sucks, the fios on demand sucks, the broadcast sucks.

  17. Hi, So, hoping no one reads this comment :)
    DO you think I could be a good bobsled teammate, as I might add, ahem, velocity, due to my weight? And, it bothers me that the announcer said 'velocity' just after I typed that.
    Meanwhile, I'm getting ready for moving [not too far] AND preparing for my conference. All in the same week -- what was I thinking?
    SO, the movers will get to pack all of my stuff for me next week. Not a great expense, and a bit less stress. Right? I'm fine, just stressing a bit.
    Reminding myself that I will be within even closer walking distance of Whole Foods, and that I won't miss the walk-ability of downtown Bethesda all that much. Also? The drive from new place to Bethesda should be 15-20 min at most, depending upon time of day.
    Thanks again for humoring my comments. :)

  18. Yes, just checking back in, and Norway IS beautiful. Except for the frozen tundra part, on the train between Oslo and Bergen. That might not actually be part of Norway ... it might be part of Samiland [sp], from which one of my ancestors originated. I think it's interesting to be descended from original peoples of the Scandinavian countries. Of course, I think most things are interesting.
    OK, done commenting. I hope to just read your blog going forward, as I also think it's kind of odd to be your top commenter.

  19. You're so funny. I love your comments and I fully appreciate the time it takes for you to leave them!


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