Thursday, July 26, 2012
Let The Games Begin
The Olympic Games start tomorrow and once again I have to swallow my disappointment in not being selected. Ever since I was nine and watching the Munich Olympics (in fuzzy black and white) and desperately praying that the games wouldn't be cancelled despite the tragedy, I've been a huge fan. In my heart of hearts back then I was convinced that some day I would be selected to go - if I wanted it hard enough. It didn't actually matter that I wasn't brilliant at any sport or that I was kind of lazy and didn't want to train. Desire would trump all and I would get to showcase my brilliance on some foreign shore.
But considering that my 50th birthday (yes I know, I know! I don't look anything near 50 - except when I wake up, have done a hard run or after 6pm when I'm winding down) is in clear sight now, I have to face the awful truth. I have been overlooked.
I would have been happy to participate in any event that didn't involve the wearing of lycra because I'd be afraid that showing this much of almost-50-year-old awesome might be too much for the sports viewing public. So that would count out swimming, diving, gymnastics, athletics, beach volleyball, cycling, basketball and water polo.
And I'm not a big fan of violence in sport. Goodbye boxing, taekwando, archery, shooting, judo, rugby, modern pentathlon, wrestling and fencing.
And I've got the upper body strength of a marathon runner. So that would rule out weightlifting, kayaking and rowing.
This doesn't leave me with an awful lot of options. Sailing, equestrian, badminton, football, table tennis and tennis is basically all that's left. And a phobia of sea-sickness, being kicked in the head, feathers, getting kicked in the shins, and racketeering wipes out them. So unless I can convince the IOC to introduce some new sports like competitive dish rack stacking or ironing 30 shirts while baking two dozen cupcakes, my dream of representing my country is screwed! Probably just as well because I don't look great in gold.
So I have resigned myself to becoming the best damned Olympic coverage watcher that this country has seen. I'm seriously thinking of changing my business hours to London time. If you need an appointment I'll be available from midnight till 5 am. I may eschew my normal runs for an exercise bike strategically placed in front of the TV. I wonder if I could generate enough electricity on the bike to power this extreme sports-watching binge.
I promise I WILL be unapologetically parochial in the next two weeks. I WILL malign refs who make marginal calls. I WILL cry every time that the Australian anthem is played (and I will probably cry when any athlete, regardless of nationality, tears up - I'm an empathetic crier). And I WILL go into withdrawals when the Games end.
I know the next two weeks are going to be awesome despite what all the papers are saying about the preparedness of London to host them. Journalists are notoriously pessimistic and they've forgotten the absolute fundamental of the Olympic Games. It's not about the location or the weather or the organisation - it's about the athletes pure and simple. It's about their hopes and their dreams and their determination to prevail. It's all about Faster, Higher, Stronger. It's human drama at it's finest and I can't wait.