You guys. The Olympics are back!!!!!! Please imagine me bouncing up-and-down in my chair, grinning like the little girl who just won a trip to Disney and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Yeah. That big. I love the Olympics. I've been watching them pretty much my entire life, with my first Olympic memories involving Kristi Yamaguchi winning gold in 1992. Since then, I've been hooked ... My appreciation of the various sports has evolved as I've grown older. At first, I was drawn solely to the pageantry and grace of figure skating and gymnastics, yearning to have a quarter of the coordination necessary to "do that." Eventually I became interested in track-and-field (which has since waned a bit), then fell hard for the "X Games" sports and swimming. Right now, as it stands, the only Winter Games sport I detest is hockey, though my decided favorites are snowboarding, skating (all disciplines), and freestyle skiing (X Games, anyone?).
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a bit of a sports junkie to begin with. It used to not be so -- the Olympics were the only thing "athletic" I really cared about until the end of high school, when I fell long and hard for football. Eventually I became enamored with the NCAA basketball tournament (but only tourney ball!), and most recently picked up a weird interest in the World Series. But the Olympics have always been something special -- a time that allows me to flaunt my American pride a little higher, to feel like I'm part of one huge group of people cheering for the same much smaller group of people who are fighting for honor and glory and the title of "Champion." It's a sense of community that is distinctly national, while also bringing together the world in a universal community. The music, the flair, the pomp and ceremony, the prestige. I love it. And I love Team USA. And I love that every two years, I can put things on hold and curl up to watch the world come together in something so huge, so filled with tradition, and know the world is watching with me.
I've blogged about my Olympic viewing experiences. The last several Games, I've live-texted with friends in different states, trading both excessively subjective commentary as well as technically objective analysis. This year ... things feel different. Oh, I'm psyched out of my mind, and fully prepared to feel like a zombie at work the next two weeks from staying up too late watching coverage. But my friends -- they're not. Some of them never watch the Olympics (how that stayed secret for the 7+ years we've been friends, I don't know), others just don't want to watch these Olympics. Oh, there are a few fellow Olympic faithfuls, but I'll have a far smaller circle of buddies with whom to gush over things with. Important things. Like breaking down all the technical elements and "What were they thinking?!" aspects of figure skating costuming. (This is serious stuff, y'all.) And we can't forget the breathtaking daredevilry of snowboarders, and watching the face of American snowboarding attempt to earn his third straight gold. (If you don't know who I'm talking about ... I pity you.) This year there are NEW SPORTS to contend and contest, and that's guaranteed to be worth dissecting.
It's these little, silly things, as well as the big, momentous, actually-important things that make the Olympics so great, and hold me spellbound.
To each his own, I suppose, but this girl will be faithfully watching -- and cheering.
Because it's The Olympics. And I can't imagine doing anything else.
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