Friday, October 26, 2012

The Olympics of Emotions

Like most U.S. Americans, I have been tuned into the Olympic games coming to you live from London, Nebraska. And when I say ”live,” of course, I mean after an eight-hour delay but still ... it’s the Olympics.

This is the 30th Annual Games of the Olympiad, which means the very first Olympic games were held in 1982 in Frederick, Okla.

Wait. Hold on a minute. I’m now getting some time-delayed news from NBC, the television home of this year’s Olympics games, that it is not the 30th Annual Games of the Olympiad. The Olympics actually happen every four years.

What that does mean is the Olympics started 120 years ago. The very first Olympic games were held in 1641 in rural Iowa, a strange and crazy place in the 17th century and in the 21st century.

Actually, the very first Olympic games happened in Greece way back in, and I quote, ”a pretty long time ago.”

This year’s Olympics have been a ton of fun to watch but they have also caused me to run the gamut of emotions and feelings. I would like to walk you through that gamut right now.

My first emotion was frustration. These Olympic games have been frustrating, not because of the U.S.A team doing poorly but because of the 24-hour news cycle ruining stuff. You can’t even look at the Internet — The Source Of All Truth — without knowing who won or lost the gold medal long before you actually get to see the event on NBC.

The problem is two-fold. First, from what I understand, England is in a different time zone than the United States, and more importantly, Texas, where I live. So, when it’s 2 p.m. here in Texas, it’s actually 11:31 a.m. in England. I could have that wrong, but it’s something like that.

That means all of the events happen when some of us are sleeping or working (for me, it’s sleeping).

Secondly, NBC likes to show the big events during prime time hours in order to charge advertisers more money for commercials. I can completely understand this, but it’s still frustrating when I know who’s gonna win the 400-meter Individual Medley or the men’s singles ping pong championship long before I actually get to see the coverage.

I’m also a little frustrated because the coverage goes on deep into the night, causing me to lose out on much-needed sleep and makes me hungry around one in the morning, so, I’m writing this column from Taco Bell at 1 a.m.

The whole thing is a little frustrating, but I’ll manage.

The second emotion is patriotism (is patriotism actually an emotion? I don’t know).
Whenever I see those U.S. My chest puffs out a little bit whenever I watch those American athletes. I root for them to win, not just for the 400 million or so Americans, but for themselves. They have worked very hard and given up any semblance of a normal life for this moment and I just want to share a small part with them.

I also get a little choked up when they play the National Anthem when an athlete gets her gold medal.
That brings me to my next emotion: sadness. It always breaks my heart and makes me sports cry just a little bit when an athlete doesn’t do well and they miss out on a medal or moving on to the next round.

Olympic gymnast Jordan Weiber comes to mind right away. She missed out on the all-round competition because of a silly rule where only two competitors from each nation can move on to the all-round. When the television cameras showed her face, full of emotion, after learning she wouldn’t be moving on, I felt really bad for her. She worked just as hard as everyone else, but it didn’t work out for her this time. She’s not a failure. She will recover and have a successful life, but at this time, she doesn’t feel that way. And I feel for her.

And lastly, as I watch these Olympics, I feel just a little tinge of remorse. I wonder what if I could have won a gold medal in an event, but because I never even tried that event, I’ll never know.
For instance, what if I could have been a better swimmer than Michael Phelps but because I didn’t even learn how to swim until I was a teenager, I’ll never know? What if I have better lung capacity than Lance Armstrong and could have won the gold in the biking competition, but I’ll never know?

What if I could have brought home gold in ping pong or air rifle or judo or fencing, for goodness sakes? What if?

I guess it doesn’t matter in the end. I can’t look at the past and wonder ”what if?” I have to move on and live my life today. I have to be the best I can be today. I have to go out and do what I’m supposed to do today. I can’t worry today about what didn’t happen yesterday.

At least I know what I have to do today. I have to watch that Olympic coverage. And, I probably need to leave this Taco Bell before they lock the doors.

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