I will never be in the Olympics.
I have accepted this fact. If I was allowed arm-floats and fins, I’d be drowned by any woman water polo player before you could say, “exclusion.”
If was strapped to a 200-horsepower Evinrude, I’d end up like Wile E. Coyote in the side of the pool and still lose to Michael Phelps. If I had a bike, I’d only finish a half hour behind the leaders in the marathon.
The only sport that I might be able to break into would be something like curling. That seems like the sport of ordinary folk, but I would still surely be weeded out before the Olympic level.
So every two years I watch the open ceremonies, or if I was out fishing, look at pictures and clips afterward, and wonder how absolutely thrilling it must be to walk in wearing our nation’s colors. There really is no greater honor.
Sidenote: just being a member of our military is the highest honor, and my respect for those wearing a uniform with the last name in front and colors on the shoulder is much higher than those with the last name on the back and a Swoosh in front.
That said, I can’t get enough of the games. I like watching people dream and work, not dream then live in gut-less apathy.
I like that though basketball is my favorite sport, it is almost an afterthought when considering the rest of what the Olympics offered. I did watch the gold medal game of course, and cheered for LeBron James. He’s acting his age more often these days and since he represents my country. I’m for him — until the NBA playoffs.
I liked when people that went to beach volleyball described it as a rock concert. I like the people riding their bikes in the background of the rowing events. I liked that Gabby Douglas won, and how she was even better.
I like that McKayla Maroney looked furious with her silver medal. I think the people sitting on their couches using their laptops to put her unimpressed podium image on different backgrounds for a laugh proves they don’t have a clue; and the people that made a stink about Douglas’ hair deserve a Hope Solo goal-kick to the face.
I like people like Allyson Felix who won silver in the 200m, waited four years, won silver again, then finally won gold. Eight years of being second best drove her to be number one - not to quit.
I like that the people that finished last, or worse yet, fourth, were there for us to watch while we downed bags of Cheetos. I like that after doing post-race interviews, a lot of sprinters went into the tunnel and puked. We don’t live our lives with that much passion enough. If we did, we wouldn’t whine so much.
I liked that Russia came from two sets down to beat Brazil in the volleyball gold medal match. They fought off match point TWICE, before collectively channeling their inner-Ivan Grago and spiking the Brazilians.
I like the dude from Germany who won the discus, tore off his jersey, grabbed a flag then ran himself a hurdle race as the cameras tried to keep up. I like that Bob Costas looks younger than he did when I was watching the games from my couch in Alaska as a middle-schooler.
So that’s why I love the Olympics. Now we head back from the Olympic high to heartless political deception, cynicism, online propaganda and half-stories that will try to convince swing-voters to choose based on emotion rather than logic.
Maybe I’ll go fishing.
To contact Jeff Lund, email firstname.lastname@example.org.