The Olympics rolled on last week, and I took in a healthy dose of it, even though I had to forgo watching dead people on “Forensic Files.” Once you get a taste for dead people, they’re hard to give up, but that’s a topic for another day. As I watched the competition unfold I couldn’t help noticing that some of the events make you question what it really means to be an Olympian.
Children all over the world are watching the games, thinking that someday maybe they will be the best in the world at their chosen sport. Will it be handball or ping pong? You might as well hand out medals for darts or skee ball. Fencing is essentially trying to kill a guy with a sword, which is a weird thing to dream about doing when you’re a kid.
The people who compete in gymnastics are obviously nuts. No one should ever hire them for any other job, because they obviously will not follow directions. Think about it: How many times when you were a kid, walking along a balance beam that was actually a tree trunk that fell in the backyard, did your mom say, “Get down from there! You’ll break your neck!” But these girls do it anyway, and somehow they don’t get their allowance docked.
My sister and I used to do backflips in the basement onto an old couch when we were kids, and if our mother ever caught us she would have hit us over the head with a shovel. She never caught us, and maybe that’s when we turned our efforts from gymnastics to long-distance running.
Women’s diving was also on last week. If I was participating they’d have to wait for me to get into the water a little at a time, takes about 20 minutes. No sense just rushing right in in case the water’s freezing. There would also be plenty of other questions about why I was on the team.
Anyway, they dive from a platform about a million feet in the air, do a bunch of flips and turns, and when they hit the water not much happens. It’s a little anti-climatic. I could make a bigger splash just walking into a room with a purple tie on. But I certainly wouldn’t jump in the water from all the way up there. It’s not that I’m afraid of heights, I’m just afraid of what happens when you fall from them. I’m also afraid of depths, so I’ll stick to sports that are played at sea level, and events where I can only hurt other people.
I’ve also been watching the women’s beach volleyball competition, which seems to be contested on a clothing-optional beach, judging by their swimsuits. I was wondering why the sand never sticks to their cabooses when they take a tumble. I figured it must be some type of agent that they spray on themselves. It must be a secret agent, or else I would have found out about it by now so I could spray it on the bottom of my beer cooler.
In equestrian sports or sailing, the athlete who stands on the medals podium is just a dude riding on something else that’s doing all the work. Why not let the sailboat hear its national anthem and take a bow right from its bow. Let the horse be on a Wheaties box for once.
Maybe your child is thinking of becoming a future star in the hammer throw. Good luck finding it in the neighbor’s yard when you need to fix the mailbox. Come to think of it, maybe Dad threw it there.
So kids, if you’re out there, dream big. Take in those victory pictures of athletes biting into a gold medal, since they are high in fiber. I’m already looking forward to the next summer Olympic Games. They will be adding some new events: a competition where participants pass a balloon back and forth without using their hands, an egg-rolling race and a contest where athletes guess how many jelly beans are in a jar.
Say hello at: firstname.lastname@example.org. And join Rick and the Trashcan Poets this Saturday, Aug. 27, at Dudley’s in New Rochelle on the water!