It’s complicated … but I watch anyway

My earliest memories of the Olympics are from 1980.

I was 7. The Winter Olympics were in Lake Placid, and people were talking about a big hockey game between the Americans and the Soviet Union (or maybe they called them Russians), who were not only really good, but an enemy of some kind.

But the Americans actually … won. I recall this being a big deal.

There was another Olympics that summer in Moscow. I had turned 8 by that point, but the U.S. didn’t send a team. Something about that same Soviet Union invading a place called Afghanistan.

I didn’t even begin to understand. After all, I was 8. (My birthday was that May.)

I’d learn about the Cold War soon enough.

Because my hometown is a few hours south of Lake Placid, I’ve been able to visit several times. I’ve been in the arena where the Miracle on Ice took place and walked around the speed skating oval where Eric Heiden won five gold medals.

I remember people talking about that, too.

(Years later, a woman at my weekly pickup volleyball game was pushing some drink concoction, saying it was the drink Eric Heiden used when he finally won a gold medal. Did I tell her she was actually talking about Dan Jansen? No, I did not.)

I’ve sat at the top of the ski jump, and had a chance to ride a bobsled, but chickened out.

If not for the Olympics, Lake Placid would probably be just another town in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, and I’ve always loved the way the town had embraced that as its identity.

By comparison, London, Vancouver and Los Angeles are all cities I love, but when I’ve been there, the Olympics felt more like just another big event that happened … which I guess makes sense, since they’re major cities and Lake Placid is … well, like I said, a small town in the Adirondacks.

In 1984, when the Olympics were in Sarajevo that February and Los Angeles during the summer … that’s when I got hooked.

When people have asked whether I prefer the summer or Winter Olympics, my usual answer is “whichever one is going on.” I like the big-ticket events — skating, track, swimming, skiing, etc. — but a team handball match or the bobsled is just as likely to get my attention.

I love myself some volleyball, and like everyone else, every four years, I become an expert in curling.

Unless you only care about the games, being a sports fan means understanding that the contests we enjoy come with various problems and imperfections, and the Olympics are no different.

My sports bookshelf includes a title from 1992 about corruption in the Olympic movement, and things haven’t changed much since then, hence the topic of the book before it on my shelf.

This year’s Olympics in Tokyo were always going to be unusual, if only because they were delayed a year due to COVID. But a state of emergency means events played without spectators, everyone wearing masks and various other protocols.

For whatever talk exists about the Olympics bringing the world together again, they’re happening for the same reason leagues did whatever they could — including physically cutting themselves off from the outside world — to get a season in last year.

Here’s a hint … it wasn’t to give pandemic-starved people something to pass the time. It was about money.

But Suzi and I still watched — in particular, a ton of WNBA games, which rekindled our up-and-down interest in the league — and we’re watching the Olympics, and they look like watching sports last year.

I was nominated for The Brainstorms Award

The above was the very long answer to the question “Are you/Did you watch the Olympics 2021? What is your favorite Olympic sport?” It was one of the five Helen of Crispy Confessions asked the bloggers (including me) she nominated for The Brainstorms Award.

As always, these things have rules, and here are the ones for this award:

  1. Thank the one who nominated you. (Thank you, Helen!)
  2. Tag your post with #BrainStormsAward and follow BrainStorms if you are willing.
  3. Display the BrainStorms Award logo. (Couldn’t find it.)
  4. Display the rules on your blog post. (You’re reading them.)
  5. Talk a bit about your blog, why you started it, what you write on and your goal for your blog.
  6. Answer the five questions you have been asked.
  7. Nominate five other amazing bloggers.
  8. Ask them five new questions.

Now that we’re through the formalities … A Silly Place is basically essays about whatever strikes my fancy. I’ve written before about why I write, and I love the mental challenge of trying to turn the thoughts in my head into something coherent and perhaps even readable (and with the writer’s block I get, it’s definitely a challenge).

I try not to think in terms of goals because I’ve never wanted to worry about numbers, and I’m astounded at the number of people who like what I do and who are willing to write with me.

That being said, I always want more people to read what I write, but I also want to write something that makes people say “Wow … that guy is really good. I wish I could do that.”

I don’t think I’ve gotten there yet, but it’s where I want to be.

Helen’s questions

I’ve already answered one, and here are the others.

Tell us one interesting fact about you. — I met Nolan Ryan at the airport the day before he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. (I was there for work.)

Would you rather have the power of invisibility, super-strength, or flight? — Definitely not super strength, and I’m kind of meh on invisibility, but I could definitely go for flight. Imagine being able to go where I wanted to go without worrying about airports and airplanes.

What is one thing that you want to learn? — I’ve always imagined learning to play the piano, but I’ve never done anything about it.

What is your favorite food? — Spaghetti

My nominees

I know lots of great bloggers, but these are the ones I’m choosing.

Rosie

Renata

Pea Green

Becky

Savannah

My questions

  1. What’s something you enjoy, in spite of its problems? (This can also apply to people you like.)
  2. What’s the first major event you remember hearing about?
  3. If you could fly anywhere you wanted, free, for the rest of your life, but you had to live at the airport, would you do it?
  4. When was a time someone else was right about something, but to this day you hate to admit it?
  5. The expression is wanting to do something “… if it’s the last thing I ever do.” What’s the last thing you want to ever do?

18 thoughts on “It’s complicated … but I watch anyway

  1. You’ve laid your soul bare with this one! Well, maybe not, but I am happy to learn that spaghetti is your favorite food and that your brush with greatness happened in an airport. Happy Weekend, Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Most of the time, I’m happy with what I write (that hasn’t always been the case when I look back at my old stuff), but there are still plenty of writers who completely blow me away!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love watching the Olympics. As a Canadian, I prefer the winter games but I enjoy the summer Olympics too. I have visited Lake Placid a couple of times. I’ve always thought it was such an out-of-the-way place to host the Olympics. I think that’s a testimonial to how much the winter Olympics have grown in 40 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! & I love your answers. I love that your very first Olympic memory is so memorable for you. Mine is too… mine is the moment when Kerri Strug broke her ankle & landed on one leg. Still remember it like yesterday.

    And I think you’re a pretty good writer. The thing that makes me want to come back is that your writing is so approachable and seemingly down to earth. I don’t feel as if you are talking down to me in your blogs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The week gone by — Aug. 8 – A Silly Place

  5. Michelle

    I’ve never been into the Winter Olympics, but since I live in South Africa, we don’t have any teams that compete. To be honest, I was in high school when I found out there was something like a winter Olympics – oops.

    Like

  6. Pingback: Just don’t hurt people – A Silly Place

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