I LOVE the Olympics. Full stop.
Well, not full stop. One of my lasting regrets about my youth is that my parents failed to harness my athletic abilities and orient me towards Olympic glory. Every time I mention this regret to Tom, he asks—in a tone of voice that I find to be unnecessarily aggrieved and put-upon—which sport I believe I could have won.
Which sport couldn’t I have medaled in, is a better question. There are really so many I could have excelled at. Fencing, for starters. I have strong thighs and a deep appreciation for white clothing. Also, I imagine I would look really good whipping off my face mask at the end of a point and shaking out my sweaty tresses. Or rowing. Certainly no one in my immediate family could fail to imagine me as a coxswain, yelling out bossy commands from a seated position. I do that everyday, from my couch. Table tennis: natch. I have very quick reflexes, and I’m also very Asian.
Every time I think of myself playing these sports and collecting my medal, it makes me appreciate the efforts of these Olympians all the more. Because it clearly takes a little more than parental direction to get you on that podium. And there are such hurdles along the way. Fencing seemed so glamorous until I found out fencers have one thigh that is much larger than the other—how would I fit into my skinny jeans? And I already have tailbone issues that would likely be exacerbated by sitting in a wooden rowboat for hours on end. As for table tennis, I started playing the regular kind of tennis recently and have discovered that I have low to non-existent depth perception, which means that when I go to hit the ball, I am consistently surprised to find it dropping roughly six feet in front of my racket. Lack of depth perception seems like a severe handicap for a sport that requires you to hit balls that are flying at your face while lunging towards a table with very sharp corners. Then again, table tennis players wear polo shirts, and I look like a man in polo shirts. Not looking like a man is small consolation for an Olympic medal, but it’s something.
My friend Maria actually went to the Olympics for diving, and since I found that out, I have been sizing her up from afar. Because she has the stuff. You can tell. The mental toughness, the determination. And I like to think that I have it too, but I know I don’t. If I get too hot in yoga, I’m apt to bust out corpse pose 20 minutes early and call it a day. When running, I go only until my watch says that exactly 30:00 minutes have passed, at which point I come to an abrupt stop, even if my legs are mid-stride. At work, I take the elevator to the 4th floor. From the 5th floor.
So maybe my parents didn’t get in the way of inevitable Olympic glory after all. But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep reminding Tom every four years that he could have been married to one of the all-time greats.
“Table tennis: natch. I have very quick reflexes, and I’m also very Asian.”
thank you! sincerely, sugarbuttswife
You totally would have won for exercise efficiency! Go you!!
thank you, i totally would! working on my IOC petition. now, where to put the tattoo?
Fencing would be a whole lot cooler if they followed your lead and used pirate swords…just saying. Dressing like pirates as well wouldn’t hurt either come to think of it.
i would agree but i find that foam lacks the stabby quality that i’d want from a foil
This post is my new personal favorite…
i see you in the biathlon. i imagine you could incorporate some amazing neckwear and vests into your ensemble
Thank you Yoona. Once again you have provided a solid public service. My grown daughter similarly fancies the idea of fencing because as a leftie she’d have natural advantage. I’ll share that one-thigh-larger peril. She and I can both relax after while we watch the experts at work-play.
Now I’m older than even the featured Olympiads’ parents, I’ve damn well decided. It is time to walk away from my own recurrent raging case of Overlooked Olympic Talent Regret. (I’ll put it in my junk drawer alongside the conviction that with a little encouragement I could have easily snagged Miss America’s tiara and sash set. No really, I totally coulda, back in 197…… Never mind.)
What relief. Now I can redouble my efforts to watch the Olympics without dizziness from sympathetic breath holding, or potential injury from involuntarily evoked body English. Shockingly, neither mechanism seemed to assist the results I’m after (which would look like whoever I want to win, wins).
Last but not least? I respectfully submit: Tom is already married to an all-time great.
deb, sympathetic breath holding should be an olympic event. i’m going to pretend it is one, and give you gold, because i can tell you’ve got some grit. and thanks, i tell that to tom all the time. he is generally unappreciative
I think that ALL THE TIME, too! I think I would have destroyed the doubles beach volley ball, and rowing for sure. Maybe we could start training together? We’ll become an inspirational story about how people, even later in life, can reach their goals if only they really apply themselves. I bet we could get some totally boss sponsorship.
let’s start with a sport that does not require the displaying of my flesh in a bikini. although i suppose if i was olympic level, i’d have a pretty awesome body. rowing sounds good but there’s only one coxswain so i fear that means you’ll have to row and get the big forearms
I have major anxiety today because I have to wear a bikini for the next week and I’m sure that my big ol’ baby belly will scare away all the natives! But I think that rowing will be fine. Will I really get big forearms? I was imagining a really sculpted and hot back…I hadn’t thought much past that…
people definitely got uncomfortable when they saw my 7 months pregnant belly in a bikini. and the thing is, it was VEGAS. some people were barely covering their pubes
Very funny! This line made me laugh out loud! “When running, I go only until my watch says that exactly 30:00 minutes have passed, at which point I come to an abrupt stop, even if my legs are mid-stride.” Me too!!!
runners talk about the “zone.” i have never entered the zone, or apparently, even approached it
Ha me too.. the only “runner’s high” I get is the elation of quitting. And I have a son who does ultra-marathons!
I just discovered that my mothers cousins grandson is engaged to Zimbabwe’s top olympiad, I’m very proud.
i have listened to that plain white t’s song about delilah, who went to the olympics last time in steeplechase, i think? so i have a comparable connection to the olympics my friend
it counts in my mind
A medal for fencing would just be a great thing to force into conversations. Fencing talked about anywhere is great really.
fencing is the SH*T. seriously. how cool is that sport? i love the graphic punch of the white players against the black background, the quiet, the elegance. i got as far as calling a salle in town before learning the bit about the thighs on google
Hilarious! Sorry about your tailbone.
me too! the perils of childbirth. bouncing on my donut right now
I wish I was more into the olympics, I really do… I’ve tried! I just get all bored and glassy eyed while watching. Over the years it’s just become more of a inconvenience, since it’s the topic of discussion for most people, and I never have anything to say beyond everything I just said in this comment…
That said, if I had to pick an olympic sport to contend in, it’d have to be something new. Pothole digging, for example. Or the “Ice Cream Face Stuffing”. I could probably take home at least a bronze in that one…
you know, i think NBC has really done well with its coverage this go-around, very few of those sob story human interest pieces and more of the action. i mean, it would be refreshing if they showed any non-US athletes competing, but i guess there are time constraints in prime time. which is all just to say that you might give the olympics another go. it also helps if you watch in 4-hour stretches like we do. once you are that committed you can’t help but give into it completely
Nice try, Yoona. Matt, I’m with ya on this one. Watching swimming on tv is worse than watching paint dry. Seriously. You are not alone. :>
nothing involving semi-nude bodies in peak physical condition can be that dull. i stand by my conviction
I have to be honest, I’m not interested in sport at all and I happen to live in a suburb of London. If anything I can’t wait for it all to be over! The problem is everything that surrounds it, which sport seems to have come second to, the logisitics, promotion, sponsorship, transport issues, bad behaviour, etc., etc. I do think it’s a shame that being inspired to get involved in the way that you describe it has been overshadowed by controversies and problems but I think the chances of many in the UK becoming reformed couch potatoes is slim! In fact the mention of “reformed” and “potatoes” in the same sentence makes me drool… That was one of the aims of having it in the UK but as much as I admire Jessica Ennis and wonder at her abs I actually want to look like Angelina Jolie! In recent days I have also begun to wonder if events that the UK can win have been invented, I mean, what on earth is a “keirin”? “Double sculls”? I had no idea we did all this stuff. I haven’t gone out of my way to watch it but it has been unavoidable and tends to be on in the background. I know from past experience that I can sit through coverage of any sporting event as long as I have enough pizza/popcorn/cornchips to get me through it, washed down with a diet soft drink of course. Here’s to ice cream stuffing!
London has done a lovely job! We outsiders think it all very grand and exciting. But I can only imagine the inconvenience to the residents who have to live with all the excitement.
Your comment made me think of the Seoul Olympics in 88, when every Korean anywhere was so proud to have our moment on the world stage and show everyone what we were a thriving nation capable of pulling off a great Olympics. I am still so proud of what we accomplished. I think that’s the great thing about having the Olympics in more developing nations. I’m excited for brazil!