Monday, August 25, 2008

I miss you, Olympics



I miss the Olympics.

Every night, I set my DVR to record the Olympics. Four hours of it on NBC (yes, I'm still affliected with standard-def TV, so I couldn't access the 24-hour Olympic coverage on the HD channels).

My DVR quickly filled up, and I had to delete other recordings. (Bye bye my beloved So You Think You Can Dance.)

Each night, I looked forward to whatever athletic competitions awaited me. I sat down on the couch with my dinner, turned the TV on, and let the games roll. I followed whatever order of competitions NBC dictated. I listened to the commentators-- sometimes scoffing at their blatant subjectivity (women's gymnastics)-- but mostly learning from them. I learned what qualifed as a good or bad score. I learned about the athletes, their countries, their coaches. I tried to watch for the flat footed dives, the abnormally long torso of Michael Phelps lunging through the water on his Fly, and the different styles of boxing between the 6'7" Chinese boxer vs. his shorter Italian opponent (the Italian won gold). I learned the difference between the snatch and the clean & jerk in weighlifting, and I learned that in trampoline, you have to land within the designated outlined box. And, I was entranced by the back story of the competitors (more love going to the underdogs, of course).

I had never watched so much of the Olympics. I used to only care about gymnastics, basketball (with the original Dream Team), and a little for track & field, swimming and diving.

I watched so many swimming events and track & field events; trampoline; gymnastics; synchro diving and solo diving; boxing (light flyweight all the way up to heavyweight); volleyball and beach volleyball; basketball; synchronized swimming; 5 seconds of fencing; cycling on that funky cylindrical track; BMX racing; table tennis; soccer; softball (as background noise-- does that count?); a few minutes of water polo; women's weighlifting; rowing; a litle field hockey. And yes, I even watched the marathon.

I was fascinated by it ALL.

Yet, I still missed taekwondo, shooting, speed walking, tennis, handball, decathalon, equestrian, wrestling, and sailing.

I know I can still find these competitons online but it's not the same. The experience of watching it on a larger screen with the commentators and not knowing what sport would be featured next-- all those elements are missing when you download it online.

Sigh.

Next up? The Democratice National Convention.

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