Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Olympic fever

I have a confession – I am a complete Olympic Games junkie.  I am a sucker for positive patriotism, good natured competition and our national anthem playing in the background while the American flag is raised and the gold medalist’s chin involuntarily quivers.  When I was younger, I had high hopes of being a top US swimmer, competing in an Olympic games and making my country proud (and isn’t that the one time when that ‘proud’ phrase is most pure and sincere – an Olympic athlete encompasses it entirely).  Sadly, my dreams were squashed pretty early on when I realized I actually wasn’t that great of a swimmer.  But the next best feeling is cheering for those athletes that are that good—abnormally, incredibly, almost impossibly good.  I am just enough of a swimmer to know that that those young men and women competing in the Olympics are phenomenal, in every sense of that word’s definition.  And while I don’t have a similar understanding when it comes to the other sports—gymnastics, diving, track and field to name a few—I still sit back in awe and gawk at those able and willing to push their bodies harder and farther than anyone else before them.  And if all else fails, there is the NBC Olympics jingle to really get the heart pumping.

For me, the Olympic Games is a lot like the Christmas season—the atmosphere around even the ordinary changes and everything, including the third round of an obscure sport, seems magical (the Christmas equivalent in my mind being “Holiday in Handcuffs” staring Melissa Joan Hart and the overly-dimpled guy from Saved by the Bell – pure magic, I tell you).  And when else other than every four years can you find primetime coverage of synchronized diving, fencing and basketball all given equal weight by the sportscasters.

But all kidding aside, I am as excited as ever to watch as much Olympic coverage as I can this summer, which I am certain will include plenty of viewings of this Proctor & Gamble commercial:

Please tell me I’m not the only person who cries real tears every time she see this.  My children are almost certainly not destined for the Olympics, but on the off chance that they are I am going to be dissolving into a puddle on the sidelines if this commercial is any indication.  I’m also still in that adult/child in between stage because I have vivid memories of my own mother’s efforts to ensure my swimming, dancing, college or law school career was as successful as possible and I realize there is no possible way to thank her other than a comparison to a sentimental P&G advertisement.  Tears from all sides on this one.

These 2012 Olympics are the third games Will and I have watched together—2004’s competition we watched from Hawaii where we honeymooned (yep, we were roughing it, huh) and 2008 (the year of Michael Phelps) we watched from our small hotel room on the Chesapeake bay with our 10-month-old daughter sleeping soundly in the closet.  This year, we don’t have a celebratory Olympic trip planned, so we’ll be watching from our sunroom couch or more likely catching the next-day replays online because one of us can’t stay awake past 9pm and the other one is up to his eyeballs in work.  But I am excited as ever, viewing these tiny, muscular athletes with the appreciation of one who is quickly aging past her prime.

Shalene Flanagan (marathon)


And happy Wednesday, everyone!

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