The Winter Olympics are fast approaching. Everyone get ready to be suddenly caught up in all the excitement of cheering on athletes you have never heard of, in sports that you never cared for before. I know that sounds negative, but I truly love the Olympics, Summer and Winter.
So why is it that in any other non-Olympic year, I have no interest at all in Olympic sports? With all of the sports channel options on television I have no trouble finding athletes competing in track and field, gymnastics, skiing, skating, etc. all through the year. Why don't I care? Sure it's fun to watch these sports once in a while, but I'm not keeping stats in a fantasy bobsled league or collecting cross country skier cards.
I think there may be two reasons that the Olympics are different. The first reason is that since each of the Olympics happens only every four years, I feel a sense of anticipation and importance for something that I can't experience everyday. I'm sure the Olympics would lose some of it's luster if it occurred every year and if it did then I would probably only watch the Olympics for the commercials. I think this is the reason that Olympic hockey doesn't interest me much either. The same goes for Olympic basketball and baseball in the summer. I can watch those sports pretty much year round every year and don't need any more.
Reason number two is that the Olympic news coverage goes out of it's way to find the personal stories of the athletes. The type of stories that illustrate overcoming obstacles, striving for greatness and incredibly hard work over many years all for one brief shining moment on the medals podium.
Or maybe it's possible that I can only stand about ten days worth of these less popular sports every four years. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that for a couple of weeks I will be eagerly following all of the cold weather action.
Four years ago, I got caught up following the US curling team. I initially watched them because they were from Bemidji, MN and because Lady Di had dined at the curling team captain's pizza restaurant back in college. I watched just about every match they had. I learned the rules and scoring to curling and found myself shouting advice at my TV to help the team. (Sweep faster!) Now with the next Winter Olympics only days away, I couldn't tell you if curling actually involves hair curlers or not.
But here I go again, getting all excited for the Vancouver Games. Lady Di shares my enthusiasm, but for some reason she is only interested in speed skating. I like speed skating too, but I will also try to squeeze in some ski jump, bobsled, downhill skiing and snowboarding.
The Flying Tomato!