Friday, August 08, 2008

Wish I were in Beijing tonight

I've been watching the Olympics since I can remember. My first very clear olympic memories are of Olga Korbut in 1972. I was a huge gymnastics fan (and the tallest kid in my grade, that was probably 2nd grade, so despite my desire to be the next Olga, gymnastics weren't going to be my calling after all). I'll never forget the '76 Olympics, with Dwight Stones in the high jump (I had such a crush on him), Bruce Jenner in the decathlon (say what you will, he was incredible pre-bad disco movies!), and ... of course ... Nadia Comaneci and her perfect performance in gymnastics.

I've missed the odd Olympics thanks to college, grad school, work, lack of TV, etc. But I'm so glad to be watching the opening ceremonies this evening, realizing that I've been watching this for very nearly 40 years (I'm sure I watched the 68 games -- Dad loves sports so would have watched it)!

I'm always hopeful that the games will be about the celebration of the very best that humans can achieve physically. So many times it tragically hasn't been the case. Take Germany in 1972 for instance, which I only understood at the time that something bad was happening -- took many years for me to fully undesrstand and I still don't). Or steroid use. Or sabotage. Or the bombing in Atlanta in 1996.

I watched the opening ceremonies this evening and, just as has been the case for years, choked up on a regular basis, thinking of how these athletes families are so incredibly proud right now. Their hometown. Their coworkers. This is something they will never forget. They'll tell the story to their great great grandchildren gathered on their laps for the 20th time when those kids beg, "tell us again, Grandma, what was it like?" Wide eyed. Glowing. And that 90+ year old person will shuck off 60+ years as they tell their story again.

Of course, the Olympics are full of "awww" moments. That darling little boy walking alongside Yao Ming -- could they have created a better, more photographable moment?

This is one of those events that I wish I could experience in person. And I hate crowds. Really despise crowds. But just once, one time, I'd love to be one of those persons waving my sparkling lattern and clapping and cheering for even the tiniest of countries as each athlete gets their moment of wonder as they represent their countries as a group before going off to competition.

But for this time around, I'll enjoy being a couch spectator, getting my snacks from my kitchen, enjoying the show on my plasma TV, while working on my own Olympic event of knitting madly for Fall and the holidays.

1 comment:

Becca said...

Hubby and I taped it last night and sat for 3 hours enthralled watching it this am...How exciting!! I too remember Nadia :)