I Hate All Sports But Somehow Love The Olympics

The Tele has been on for days darlings, it’s true.

We do many things at the Heatley Cliff, many Manor-like Masterpiece Theatre type of things like lounging about and pouring stiff drinks and knitting when we’re anxious.

In real life, we don’t “hit the gym”; we don’t “work out”. We take classes like Pilates and Yoga and the dreaded Bar Method to maintain our girlish figures. Okay, we left girlish years ago, but we stay active ONLY so that our rear ends don’t expand past the point where we can’t wear our cute outfits anymore. The truth is, even though I somehow married a triathlete, I pretty much hate physical exertion of any sort.

I was never athletic. I was never the “sporty” one. I was bookish and coltish and quite frankly blessed with a fast metabolism that let me get away with such complacency for years. No need to roll your eyes, those days are long gone and at almost 4o with three kids, I have to work for it.

When I see people running down the street, my first thought is always, “What are you doing? Is someone chasing you?” which is swiftly followed by, “Of all the things you could choose, why on earth would you run? Don’t you feel like throwing up?” I am even more baffled by the treadmill. I don’t get sports or teams or training. I am not competitive. I don’t understand, especially when there isn’t money involved, why you would pit yourself against someone else when you could be sitting around having a drink and a laugh with them. I don’t have that animal instinct, unless that animal is a house cat.

For two years my TV is switched on to HBO or PBS or Bravo. As anyone who has heard our podcast knows, I am unashamed of my love of television. But then the Olympics happen and something inside me changes. I literally become a different person. I become obsessed with sports. I don’t mean just the obvious ones, either, like gymnastics or swimming. I mean all sports, sports I would never in a million years watch outside of the Olympics like water polo, handball and skeet shooting. I sit in front of my TV all day and even as I am working and doing other things, the Olympics are always on and at night, primetime, I am glued.

Why is this? Well, my theory is that actually, it’s not about the sports at all. It’s about potential. It’s about seeing someone live up to 100% of their potential. I am completely in awe of the very idea the four hard, grueling years can be boiled down to a hundredth of a second. I cry when I watch someone give everything they have and then you see it on their faces, they dig deeper and reach a place they never have before and finish, even if it’s in last place… maybe especially if it’s in last place. During the Olympics I see the grace in sports, the beauty in athleticism and the joy of competition. I marvel at the human body, in what it can do and the places it can take a mere mortal. I am totally obsessed.

For two weeks.

And then then it all winds down. I watch the closing ceremonies. I go back to my usually scheduled programming and don’t think about anything sports related until the next two years.

It is strange, I know. But I will say this – after I watch something like the platform diving and I go to my yoga class, something does dawn on me. As I struggle to get up into headstand (which I can maintain for maybe 30 seconds, tops) I think about those athletes who whip into a handstand and then jump and twist and curl into the water. I understand just how amazing and ferocious they are. And then, I go home and watch True Blood.

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