Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Summer Games

Long post, no pictures.

I love the Olympics. I credit (or blame) my parents.  I always assumed that everyone had this undeniable love for the games.  In the three days since the games opened I realized, I'm wrong.  I unknowingly married an Olympic scrooge. (He's slowly coming around, but those weeks leading up were brutal.)

Let me go back to my childhood.  Growing up we had one tv (unless you count the one in my brother's room that we weren't allowed to watch unless my older brother was gone), so we were forced to watch whatever my parents watched.  I grew up watching ER, Law & Order, Melrose Place, Wheel of Fortune, the news and football.  Every four years when the Olympics rolled around we would watch the games and cheer for Team USA.  The first games I really remember watching and really grasping the magnitude of the event was 1996.  The games were in Atlanta, a mere two hours from us.  I was 11 and in the height of my short lived gymnastics career.  (Turns out going backward on the beam is really scary and I'm a bit of a coward.)  I remember being glued to the tv during the team all around finals with my sister ( and the rest of America).  My parents were out that night and I can't remember who was staying with us, that part isn't really important.  We watched Shannon Miller on the beam, I was convinced if I had a leotard from her line I too would be an olympian. It all came down to the vault.  I think you all know how this ends, the point of this story is to tell you that my parents came home after the competition had ended but they hadn't announced the winner yet so we were still in limbo.  They came in the door chanting U-S-A because they'd heard on the radio we'd won.  (Atlanta was an hour ahead of us.) I remember being so mad that they ruined it.  Fast Forward 16 years, social media is trying to ruin the olympics for me.  I'm trying to avoid any news sources that will spoil the events I'm really looking forward to.  It's hard though. I saw a headline yesterday that read something like "Surprise shake up in women's all around"  I wouldn't read the article because I didn't want to spoil it but the rest of the afternoon my stomach was in knots because I was afraid that little Gabby Douglas didn't make it.  Then while I was watching it last night and she practically ran out of bounds I was nearly sick.

My sister any I were looking forward to the 2008 games in Beijing.  She was home and we'd planned to eat Chinese food and watch the opening ceremonies together.  Well something came up and to make a long story short I ended up going to see about a puppy.  I brought her home that night, you might know her as Ally.  Well I'd set my DVR to record the opening ceremonies so we could take Ally to visit some people.  We get home and her settled to watch and everything is going well until the recording cuts off at 3 hours and we missed the torch being lit.  I'm pretty sure my sister still holds this against me.

***It has been brought to my attention that I ruined not one but two opening ceremonies for my sister.  Beijing was before we got our DVR so I think I convinced my sister that we'd be home in time for the ceremonies and we weren't.  In an attempt to make up for the Beijing snafu, I proudly recorded the Vancover opening ceremonies so that my sister and I could enjoy in without commercial interruption and the DVR cut off before the torch was lit. So essentially, my sister will never trust me with her olympic opening ceremony viewing ever again***

This year I missed the opening ceremonies.  I was sad about it but I quickly picked up Saturday morning with the olympic coverage.  (this is when I realized the twitter was going to make or break the olympics for me this year).  Sunday afternoon I went to church and then to my parents house for lunch the kids had stayed with them all weekend.  When I came in I asked what was showing in the olypmic coverage and Drew, the oldest, was like please don't make us watch any more olympics.  I'm not going to lie I felt a little pang in my heart.  My parents had made him sit and watch the opening ceremonies, he was not impressed.  As I watched water polo and beach volleyball, I was reminded of my childhood.  My parents love anything competitive.  If someone can lose they'll watch it.  We were cheering for water polo like it was the Iron Bowl.
This week will be my favorite week of competition with gymnastics and swimming but I've grown to love other events too.  The main excitement for me is to have a whole country cheering for the same team.  I love team USA, red white & blue and stars and stripes.  It's like the 4th of July for 2 weeks!

*I started this post three days ago but I'm going to add my opinions about this weeks competition so far*

So, I thought my parents ruining the news for me in 1996 was bad.  At least they'd finished competing.  Yesterday , twitter spoiled it for me around lunch time.  I was so disappointed.  But I quickly realized going into round one that it didn't make me any less nervous to watch the routines knowing they won.  Could those girls have been any more on?  I mean they nailed those vaults.  Kayla Ross made tumbling on the beam look like a piece of cake.  I loved the smiles and expressions of relief of the girls faces as they checked off each tumbling pass of their floor routines.  I loved seeing the parents reactions in the stands.  Can you even imagine the thoughts going through their heads?  Then while doing a little math in my head I realized that they too were in diapers or not even born yet with the Magnificent 7 won gold in Atlanta. Sigh.  Like any other girl that ever walked across a balance beam I was crushed that I'd quit gymnastics, I mean I could have been an olympian.  Did anyone else notice the 24 year old from Romania?  She looked like a senior citizen next to some of these kids.

I'm taking break from the olympic coverage tonight.  I haven't been sleeping well and I think all the excitment of the games has something to do with it.

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