The other day Calder and I were playing in the backyard, sword fighting with sticks to be more specific, when he poked me in the abdomen and said, "Beeep!"
It's fair to say that Olympic fever has gripped the family. Calder resisted at first, being as it is non-animated television and all, but it seems as though he's come around and now enjoys watching the various sports with me. Though he has developed an annoying habit of asking, "Is this handball?" for almost every event. For her part, Wren has always enjoyed watching all forms of "bahl bahl!" on TV but she has also begun clapping along with the crowds. It's hard to tell who she is rooting for but I think it might be Romania.
Of course this is all my doing. I have been told by my parents that when I was a baby, I wouldn't sleep so I would stay up late watching hockey with my dad. And it's stuck. One of the happiest days of my life was when we finally got cable access in our individual rooms during college. I could watch the Red Sox without enraging a small army of Dawson fans. Not to mention the day NESN finally came out from behind a paywall. Hoo boy. I think I left my room even less that I previously did before. And it's not just my sports or my teams. I'll watch the playoffs of pretty much anything, regardless of my rooting interests. Sunday afternoon and there's nothing on but the NCAA women's Div. II soccer final? Why not. I really like to watch people being really, ridiculously good at things, which also just happens to be the way I justified watching American Idol for so long. I think it still applies to my other reality show addictions: Project Runway, Top Chef, Face Off, So You Think You Can Dance. You get the idea.
For me, the Olympics is like a two week festival of worshiping my TV. It's better than the Stanley Cup playoffs and March Madness combined. It's a crapton of super talented and super attractive people (Hey, Greece, call me) all coming together to be awesome. More so than swimming or track, I love to watch the dinky little events with no commercial following. I'll sit still and watch a whole one of almost anything, be it the hammer throw or women's power lifting. Skeet shooting or table tennis. What-the frickin'-ever they got, I'll sit still for it. I just luuurve watchin' me some sports. And athletic competitions. And contests of skill. Thankfully the Olympics have them all.
What's that? There's a difference between the three? Yes there is. A sport is an event determined by a non-objective scoring system, an athletic competition is a physical activity that is judged by a (supposedly) neutral party and a competition of physical skill is when you let something else do the heavy lifting. Call gymnastics a sport all you want but having a panel of people applying their own subjective prejudices to the outcome of an event is hardly within my interpretation of of "sporting", that word, to me, conveys an idea that all scoring is objective and winning is a matter of one side getting more points than the other, without any outside interference. That's not to say those tiny ladies aren't busting their collective powerhouse humps to be more physically powerful than I will ever be. They are still athletes. For sure. Please don't hurt me, small muscle-y people.
If you ever find yourself watching some television event and thinking, "is this a sport?" feel free to refer to the handy list below. I'd offer to help yo out but I am going to be busy watching very strong men do ridiculous feats of strength and wondering why the Ukrainian men's gymnastics team appears to have a homeless man in their employ.
Baseball - Yes
Basketball - You bet
Hockey - Damn skippy
Volleyball - Sure
Gymnastics - No, athletic competition
Diving - Same
Figure skating - See above
Cheerleading - Not unless there is a standard unit of measuring peppiness that I am not aware of.
Football - Brutally so
Equestrian - Contest of skill
Snowboarding - Only if it's a race, no halfpipes
Track - Yup
Water polo - (Heeeey, there)
Swimming - Absolutely
Bowling - Shockingly yes
Archery - Contest of skill
Curling - Yes, and as a bonus it's one you can play while drinking a beer
NASCAR - Ugh
Poker - Go away from me