Thanks, Olympics

February 28th, 2010

Dear Olympics,

Now that our relationship is coming to an end, I just want to thank you.

I will admit that things got off to a rocky start between us. All I really knew about you at first was that you were going to pre-empt a lot of my favorite shows (30 Rock, Mercy, etc), which was irritating.

Plus, there was that whole luge thing.

So yes, things were tense between us there for a while.

See, I’m not super into sports. I grew up in basketball country with a brother who is six foot eight inches tall.

Let me translate for those of you who only speak geek:

That’s like living in the middle of a Quidditch field with a sibling who was born with a flying broom coming out of his butt.

For a while growing up, I thought the only way I’d ever get any attention was to play basketball myself. I tried out and actually got on the girl’s team! I was super excited to be cast (is that the right word?) as a forward.

To me, being a forward meant looming over the person I was guarding (I’ve been 5’8” since 6th grade) and not letting her get the ball (that’s what the coach told me to do), while also trying to chat her up about French braiding (Coach didn’t mention this as a necessary part of the job, but I’m naturally outgoing).

I once overheard my coach bemoaning the fact that “Cabot would be good if she’d only hustle.” I took this as a major compliment.

It wasn’t until we played our first game that I found out the coach had not actually meant it as a compliment, and also how important it was to WIN!

My teammates were all about WINNING! They were NOT interested in discussing French braiding with our opponents, but in snapping the backs of their bras and elbowing them repeatedly in the solar plexus.

I was so horrified, I quit on the spot and never played competitive sports again. I did not want to WIN if WINNING meant behaving like a nasty little butt monkey.

I thought I’d escaped competitive sports forever when I moved to New York City. But I was wrong.

I’m now married to the world’s biggest Indiana basketball fan. Sigh.

That’s OK, though. To misquote U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on FX’s new show Justified, people are entitled to their hobbies.

Just I am entitled to make my own money so I can buy my own television and put it in another room so I can change the channel and not see other people doing their hobbies, such as competitive sports.

Which brings me to this:

Without you, Olympics, I would never have discovered that not all athletes behave like those little hooligans on my middle school basketball team.

I was super moved by the brave performance of Joannie Rochette, that Canadian skater whose mom died of a heart attack when she arrived in Vancouver.

And watching Julia Mancuso become the most-medaled women’s American Olympic skier ever was amazing!

It’s always heart-warming to see someone achieve a life-long dream after years of hard work and training (and, probably, hustling).

(And did I mention all those funny new shows that I normally wouldn’t have watched, like The Middle and Modern Family, which I discovered while changing the channel in order to avoid watching the Olympics whenever it was showing men’s sports which, really, I can’t relate to, and no, I won’t apologize for that? My mom always said Modern Family is amazing, but I just never got a chance to watch it before now. So yay!)

So, thank you, Olympics, for everything. You rock. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

And I bet you’re a way awesome French braider, too.

More later.

Much love,

Meg