The Buck Stops Here
I don’t know if you’ve been watching the Olympics, but I find it to be a perfect antidote for the winter blahs, which have been going on since September it seems.
So after a hard day at work and later chasing my dog through the snow, what better than to watch someone jump off a ramp and twist like a pretzel on skis?
I started watching in 1960 when they had the first Olympic telecast from Squaw Valley, Calif.
I’ve been hooked ever since and every four years, I become an instant expert on every sport within the winter games.
I know these things because of the deep research I did as a lad, like getting a face full of snow while dumping my Flexibile Flyer sled in 1956.
I also know everything there is to know about ice skating because I tried it three times.
In each instance, my ankles went wobbly like flags in the wind, which was enough to make me at least a fledgling expert. Years now of watching the Olympics have only heightened my vast knowledge.
I also like to hear myself say the word “luge,” because it makes me sound like a suave Frenchman.
I blurt out a lot of things during the Winter Olympics. I heard myself say this while watching figure skating the other night.
“She didn’t hit that triple-axle. That’s going to cost her points,” I announced to the family, dog and wall. “That little Russian’s going to beat her if she doesn’t do better in the long program.”
It was my expertise showing and darn it, I just couldn’t hold it back.
A little later while watching speed skating, I adroitly opined on a skater’s sloppy style and their multicolored, spandex-like suit, because as we all know, I’m a fashion icon as well.
I love speed skating, but we need the men to visit Brooks Brothers before they step out onto the ice again looking like mobile light shows from the sixties.
When I saw those initial broadcasts from Squaw Valley during that same decade, skiing was composed of downhill and slalom events for men and women.
Now we have events called moguls, aerials, halfpipe and slopestyle for both genders.
Although I am a self-proclaimed expert every four years, I’m not a purist. I figure the people young enough to compete in the Olympics should be able to pursue new wrinkles with sports they have invented. Three hours of watching the same downhill race was boring after awhile anyway.
There’s even a death wish event called skeleton, which is essentially a luge where you lay down on your stomach instead of your back with your face one inch above the ice, at 80 mph.
I heard a skeleton entrant being interviewed on NPR and she said there is no Zamboni machine to smooth the run like hockey rinks have. It’s also a lot more bumpy than it looks.
When asked what it’s like to fall on bumpy ice at 80 mph, she profoundly said, “It hurts.”
I believe that and will leave the expertise on that particular event to her, unless someone knocks on the door toting a Flexible Flyer.