"A long memory can drive a man crazy."
-- Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is Anyone Watching the Olympics?

     Picture this. We had some relatives over for a late lunch last Sunday. So B's two sons came by the house. Afterwards, the guests left, and after clearing the table her two sons drifted into the TV room. I stepped up to the kitchen sink, like I usually do, and wrestled with the dirty dishes, while B scurried around straightening up, putting leftovers away, drying special dishes that don't go in the dishwasher.

Missy Franklin now has two gold medals
     I finished the dishes and went into our TV room, where the boys were watching the Olympics. I sat down, and found myself drawn into this one particular match.

     A few minutes later B came in and sat down. She watched for a minute or two, then lost interest. She reached over to the coffee table, picked up the newspaper and started reading through the arts section.

     Some time later -- one minute? ten minutes? I don't know, time stood still as I watched the ball being batted back and forth over a net -- I looked up from the TV. B's older son was sprawled across a chair, eyes glued to the screen. B's younger son, ignoring the iPad on his lap, stared at the TV with his entire face glazed in wide-eyed wonderment. B's head was still buried in the paper.

Two British beach volleyball players, in uniform
     Can you guess what event we were watching? Women's beach volleyball.

     But aside from what I thought was this humorous insight into human behavior, the Olympics in our household have been rather unremarkable. And I've noticed that there are almost no blog entries among our crowd of retirees involving the Olympics (besides this one from Gabbygeezer). So I wonder if people are watching.

     B and I missed the opening ceremonies. But I heard a report saying the TV audience was larger this year than it was for the Bejing Olympics in 2008. B's younger son went to an Olympic party with his friends that first night to watch the event, and he reported back: "It was cool, especially when they lit the torch."

Ryan Lochte, challenger to Michael Phelps
     So I must admit our viewing of the Olympics has been somewhat sporatic. I watched a few minutes of a bicycle race but got tired of staring at the cyclists' butts, which is all they seemed to show. I have seen a little bit of the women's gymnastics. I like Gabby Douglas from Virginia; she's cute. But even though the team won the gold medal, there didn't seem to be any surprises -- and no breakout stars.

     I like swimming and diving. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte have done pretty well, but not spectacularly. Colorado's Missy Franklin was fun to watch. I saw the synchronized diving (I have an interest in diving because my daughter was a diver in high school and college) and I enjoyed the show. Synchronized diving seems a bit contrived; but it is amazing to watch. The Chinese dominate all the diving events, but the Americans have done well so far, winning a few medals. I especially look forward to seeing women's springboard (scheduled for this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday) because my daughter knows American hopeful Cassidy Krug from Pittsburgh. I met her once; she's a long shot, but we're all rooting for her.

Cassidy Krug will compete in springboard diving
     I also saw a bit of ping pong. Again, the Chinese dominate. We have a ping pong table in our basement, and the boys and I can get pretty serious about it. I beat B's older son most of the time; her younger son some of the time; and I lose to my own son almost all the time. But even though we're amateurs, and play kind of a different game, I really do appreciate just how good these Olympians are.

     For us, the Olympics is just a show on TV, with an occasional controversy. But when you think about it; when you consider the talent and hard work and total dedication to their sport that these people commit to, and how fast and strong and skilled they all are, it's absolutely amazing. And it's (ahem) a great place to see the human body in its most perfect form.

     There's still plenty more Olympics ahead of us. Is anybody watching?


Olga said...

My ex had a fantasy women's beach volley ball team for years (probably still does). Yeah, he was always on the look out for possible candidates for the team.

Mac n' Janet said...

Have watched very little of it, a little swimming, a little gymnastics, but not much that really got me excited. I think the beach volleyball is a joke, meant, as your blog shows, young men.

stephen Hayes said...

I'm watching the Olympics, but I can't say I'm paying as much attention as I have in years past. I'm not sure why, maybe the politicizing and commercialization of everything.

Rosaria Williams said...

Not much watching. However, I did watch the opening ceremony, and enjoyed every minute of it!

Dick Klade said...

Maybe there's an interest-age connection. Just returned from the local barber shop, where two TVs run continuously. All five chairs were full of older guys, because a senior discount was available today bringing the price down to $11.

No one seemed to be watching the Olmypics. My barber said he had watched some of it, but was tired of the swimming and beach ball and wanted track and field to get going.

The old guys were talking about fishing, golf, road construction, the weather, and taxes--but not at all about the Olympics.

schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

No we are not watching the Olympics. I am not into sports at all so why would this event make a difference. The only thing I have heard that made me somewhat happy was that M. Phelps won his two medals that made him the all time champ. As for volleyball, you have to be kidding. Whats's next naked wrestling?

This is a commercial event afterall and sex sells. Dianne

Douglas said...

I happen to like beach volleyball. Women's or men's. It was one of the few sports I could play decently so perhaps that explains it. On the other hand, I am not watching the games as much as I have in the past. Just too much of it, I think.

Bob Lowry said...

I am getting old. The event announcers seem to be shouting or overly energetic most of the time. The crowds scream a lot, the commercials are frantic and loud, and the promotional pieces are all too much in my face.

Maybe I should try it with the sound off.

Linda Myers said...

I feel a little guilty that I haven't watched at all. Not guilty enough to turn on the TV, though.

QwkDrw said...

Absolutely!! Just thinking today that it might be better for the athletes and fans alike if a form of the Olympics was held more frequently than only every four years


Joanna Jenkins said...

I've been watching the Olympics but it's anticlimactic because the news outlets and social media blab the results the minute they happen-- So the suspense and the excitement is kinda gone. All I watch now are the moments the athlete wins and sometimes the flag ceremony-- It's disappointing because I used to be glued to the television for the games.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

My husband and I have been glued to the Olympics since the Opening Ceremony. I absolutely love watching these amazing athletes in action! While I favor the Winter Olympics, I find myself very interested in the Summer ones as well. I've been so delighted with some of the talented teenagers so evident here -- Missy Franklin, Gabby Douglas, the Fab Five == and also the chance to see sports I didn't know were Olympic events -- like trampoline and ping pong. It's exciting to see these taken to a whole different level! Most of our neighbors don't seem much interested, but Bob and I are transfixed!

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