12-step plan for watching Games
The 12-step program of watching any Olympic sport:
— Disbelief that something like this is a sport. Muttering about how sports have declined since your youth, when most competition involved two guys striking each other with long poles.
— Questioning who is responsible for letting this event into the Olympics. Trying to figure what year this sport first was tried as an exhibition sport, and trying to remember if you were on vacation and didn’t watch the Olympics the year this event sneaked in.
— Watching anyway.
— Wondering how someone gets started in a sport such as curling. Are there junior leagues? Are there high schools in obscure towns where cheerleaders swoon for the captain of the curling squad?
— Getting interested in the equipment. Where do you suppose those speed skaters buy those outfits? Maybe you could get one to wear around the house on weekends.
— Watching the event.
— Thinking about how hard it must be. Imagining what it would be like if you were headed down a ski jump – sliding on your stomach, feet first, arms extended over your head, fingernails digging deep into the snow in a desperate effort to stop before you reached the bottom. Trying to talk your wife into letting you toss her into the air a few times while you’re ice skating, even though your wife knows that the only ice you’ve been on lately is the thin ice upon which you skate when you ask to toss her in the air a few times.
— Trying to figure out how they score this sport. The snowboarder, to cite but one example, got a score of 5.8 for amplitude. The only time you remember hearing the word “amplitude,” you think, is when someone explained to you that AM radio had something to do with modulating amplitudes. So now you have to figure how a 47-second performance by a snowboarder is affected by a station from Modesto that plays country music hits from the 1960s.
— Hearing the television commentator explain that the ice-skating couple showed great courage when it undertook a quadruple whammy for the first time in international competition, but may lose points for the way it failed to land cleanly after the marvinheimer at the end of the routine.
— Nodding knowingly to your wife.
— Watching the next ice-skating couple and offering the opinion that you think they should have tried the quadruple whammy, but you think they did a great job on the marvinheimer.
— Complaining bitterly about the incompetence of the judges in an event you’d never seen before you turned on the television 30 minutes ago.
John Seelmeyer is editor of The Union. His column appears on Saturday.
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