I’ve got the fever! The Olympics fever. Now, it may not be as much as Leslie Jones, but that brings me to what I love about them: the passion. For two (2) short weeks the world focuses on athletes pushing themselves to physical extremes in some of the most unusual (to me) sports.
My desire during these games it to watch sport I can’t see anyplace else and that aren’t the primetime draws (you know: the women’s gymnastics, the swimming, the diving – the ones guaranteed for an endorsement deal). So far that includes: handball, table tennis, rugby sevens, fencing, water polo, archery, men’s indoor volleyball, and a couple others.
I marvel at their athleticism and not (come on, you can’t tell me wouldn’t be able to outrun a few of those archers to the cookie jar; their pants are a little too snug), but you cannot deny their intensity. I am a calm person. I believe in law and order and sometimes (sadly) follow the rules to their letter. I don’t emote or display tears of excitement ever. But, I watched with joy the men play table tennis and listened to the commentator tell me they can only towel off after every six (6) points and man did they need too! I watched the gold medal match of fencing and the commentator giving the pedigree of both athletes and didn’t recognize a name – my fencing knowledge is of old pirate movies.
In America, we idolize our sports figures. Those greats often participate in the Game, but I intentionally ignore them during the Games because if your day job leads you to primetime, my eyes these two (2) weeks are for the others. When most professional league minimums hover around $500K, the professional athletes we exalt have their ability tinged with financial gain. I glory at the ones who will never make that amount. They won’t be on the front of a cereal box. They won’t have much to show for their time other than their name on the roster. But the sacrifices they have made are evident in their physique, their scars, their absolute tears of exuberance. The bulk of my lifetime tears have been in heartache, sadness, self-pity. Their tears are one of payoff, of pride, of accomplishment.
I will continue to scour the TV schedule for the ‘odd’ events to come. To admire these individuals I don’t know, playing sports I’ve never heard of, who have dedicated their time to reach a pinnacle I cannot even imagine. With your ridiculously tiny and tight uniforms, your sweaty undulating moves, your painted sparkle and flair, your tears, sweat, and devotion to sport, I thank you.