Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Fever - C'mon America

I don't really pay too much attention to sports. I like UConn to do well in the tournament. It would be nice if the Mets won, but I don't follow them all season. Hockey pretty much died for me when the Whalers left Connecticut. I lost my team. And I just don't get football at all. But I've always liked the Olympics.

I can remember everyone "speed" roller skating after Eric Heiden won five gold medals in 1980. If you were an American kid during the summer of 1980, you bent over and skated one arm flailing whenever you laced up your roller skates.  Eddie the Eagle was a hero of mine (even though he's British) and one of the best Olympic stories of all time. How cool would it be to buy that guy a beer?

Remember when Greg Louganis hit his head, got a concussion, and still won? That was the summer everyone became a diving expert: Ohh his feet separated or that guy wasn't straight when he went in the water and my favorite - that was too big a splash, points off for that. I remember staying up way past my bedtime with my brother Dave to watch the late night broadcast, the one that starts at 1 AM. We were watching a woman's volleyball game and the network had the nerve to interrupt it for a local news report. We played chess with the sound off until the game came back on. The team needed us.

The Olympics brought me to the game of curling. I was watching Olympic curling in 2000 (Salt Lake City Olympics) and talking with my buddy Joe on the phone while he watched too. We agreed that while we probably wouldn't make the next Olympic team, it was a game we could actually physically play. Two weeks later on the Great PBS Auction, there was a family membership to the Schenectady Curling Club. I bought it and have been playing ever since. Didn't even know the club existed.

Sadly, the Olympics also taught me a little about politics. The Olympic boycotts are probably the politically driven thing I can remember. Plus the judging...I pretty much stay away from judged events now. Torvill and Dean's ice dancing bronze medal in Lillehammer took care of that. You didn't need a trained eye to see that they were clearly the best. It wasn't close. I still get a little pissed off thinking about that one. Anything without a judge, count me in.

Sunday afternoon we were just hanging out, watching the Olympics and the kids were really getting into it. I was surprised how quickly their nationalistic pride generated. Allison had a little fist pump every time the US men's volleyball team scored against Serbia. And she got a little tense when the Serbs had a rally in the 3rd set. When I heard "C'mon America!" I told them about U!S!A! and that was probably a mistake. That chant is significantly louder than "C'mon America!"

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