If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?
~ Vince Lombardi
Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
TONIGHT on TV
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
17 August 2004
I fell asleep watching the Olympics and woke up feeling sore.
How odd, I thought. Why should I be feeling sore?
Then I remembered that wed gone to the gym and Id done about 25 minutes on the treadmill (I usually do 15) and 10 on the exercise bike (I discovered if I put the seat up high enough and stretch my bad leg out every few minutes, I can pedal without too much discomfort), plus the usual stretching exercises. Guess my body was saying "you should do this more often and it wouldnt hurt so much."
What kept me on the treadmill for so long was being engrossed in the mens volleyball game between the USA and Australia.
Im having a difficult time with the Olympics this year. We are getting more coverage by far than four years ago, when Peggy was so frustrated at only having a few hours each night of highlights. Now we are getting 24 hour a day coverage, perhaps not live, but almost live. So Im seeing a lot more than I have in the past--and also more interested than in the past.
But my problem is that Im an American and should be cheering the home team on. However, after my six weeks in Australia, immersed in Australian sports, I find I have divided loyalties. I was, thus, disappointed when the American team squeaked out a win over the Aussies in beach volleyball. But it was a close game, so win or lose (whoever won or lost!) it was a good game.
Easier was the USA womens win over China...easier to find the team to support, and nice that it was a clear cut victory.
More difficult is knowing whether Im cheering for the Australian Ian Thorpe or our own Michael Phelps. Whoever take the gold, its going to be an exciting competition.
(Im also having problems with terminology. In previous years I would be "rooting" for my favorites, but learning that "root" means something entirely different in Australia makes it difficult to use that term. Im looking for a suitable alternative!)
There was some guilt when Peggy was here in the States watching the Sydney Olympics. She found it difficult dealing with the American coverage and the emphasis on American athletes to the exclusion of all others. It was, then, with some relief that I read the following in Annas journal yesterday (Annas husband is an American living with his Australian wife in Sydney):
I have some problem with media coverage of these events. These athletes are the cream of the crop. They have reached the pinnacle. They are performing in the Olympics, for Pete's sake, and if they are a fraction of a second off the lead and take the silver medal, some of the reporters act as if it was the worst tragedy, a terrible disgrace, a terrible disappointment. As if being the second best athlete in the world is something to be ashamed of (in some contests, when the American takes second, you don't even HEAR who took the bronze--the bronze isn't even worth mentioning!)
I do love the athletes, though, who take the wins and losses in stride and try to downplay the "terrible tragedy" of coming in 0.1 second behind the gold medal winner. Every single athlete I've seen interviewed has been very philosophic about this just being another contest and how s/he wasn't at his/her best and that tomorrow is another day.
But I guess without that heightened sense of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat broadcasters have nothing to talk about, and we all know that broadcasters have to talk about something.
For me, just showing up and completing 25 minutes on a treadmill is victory enough. I don't care if the person next to me is running and has been running for an hour. I go for a personal best and accept the pain as part of the gain.
Recommended Web site
This from my friend Michael: The CDC is quietly going about
the task of revising the content of its guidelines concerning HIV/AIDS. Among other
dangerous and misguided points, they propose dropping language concerning condoms and safe
sex and inserting language promoting abstaining from sex before marriage as the approved
method of teaching AIDS prevention.