Truth be told, I’m not much of a sports fan. I find that funny because I loved sports as a kid, defined myself as a bit of a jock even. However, I loved playing them and never really watching them. The fun was in the participation. So, you won’t see me watching the superbowl much or talking about my favorite football team. Being of the lady kind, I’ve never played football and had no desire to break new ground in my county by becoming some kind of Quarterback Princess. I’m not much into baseball either. I can’t tell you who plays for what team, nor do I care all that much. But, I do like to go to a stadium from time to time. I like the atmosphere and the sunshine and the Americanness of it all and even the beer.
All of that indifference for sports changes when two things happen:
World Cup Soccer
The Summer Olympics
I can’t get enough of those two things. I love the internationalness of the two events. I love the drama. And, OH, with the Olympics there’s always such drama.
There was that gymnast who was a bit old – being in her 20’s and all – that no one wanted to sponsor her Olympic dreams. But, she didn’t care. It was her dream. So, she ate nothing, but powerbars and trained all day anyway. Until, Pamela Anderson stepped in and sponsored her. Pamela Feckin’ Anderson!
There’s always some story or other about a runner or a cycler who fell off a mountain and after years of rehab and being told they’d never play their sport again – THEY MAKE A COMEBACK. They transcend. They win. They cry. We cry. Their country cries. It’s awesome.
There are controversial moments like when Mary Decker was to run her last Olympics and got cut off on the track by the bare footed Zola Budd, falling, and in an instant having all of her training and dreams and hard work, crushed.
There was the women’s first marathon run in Los Angeles in 1984 and won like a breeze by Joan Benoit. Meanwhile, we watched Swiss runner, Gabriela Schiess, practically collapsing during her final laps due to extreme exhaustion and dehydration. Everyone wanting to help her, but no one wanting to touch her as she’d be disqualified. I defy you to watch this video without tearing up.
The black power fists / human rights salute raised during the Olympics of ’68 — basically saying, “We’ll run for America, but America had better start working for us, along with the rest of the world.”
Read more about, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, here.
There was the apple-pie-faced, little, ball of steel, Mary Lou Retton bounding here and there and wiping up the gymnastics arena with gold. There was Nadia Comaneci before that, the first, female, gymnast to score a perfect 10, showing the world what communist discipline combined with grace can produce.
There was that moment when Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board, Seoul Olympics ’88, and the world wondered if the pool was filled with AIDS. Literally.
I mean, you can’t get much more excitement then if you combined a telenovela and a life or death war.
This year, it all happens in London – one of the most exciting cities in the world.
The opening ceremonies directed by Danny Boyle. So, I’m tingling in my naughty parts just thinking about it and hoping to see a lot of — this:
I’ll be watching every main event while I enjoy the coolness of the late summer, my outside deck, and a nice beverage with friends. When the Americans are out, I’ll cheer for whoever has the next best story. You can’t help it, there’s not better human story than giving it everything you have – knowing there may be no other chance, ever, in your lifetime.
If that’s not human, I don’t know what is.
Let the games begin.
Will you be watching? I know I will. If so, what’s your favorite event?
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