Nina In New York: 5 Olympic Thoughts
A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
By Nina Pajak
I get Olympics amnesia.
I’m no diehard, but I tend to get swept up each time for reasons I can’t quite explain. I have only vague memories of watching in previous years, no special feelings about it, and am only aware of a fraction of the sports represented. And yet, you have to watch. Right? I’m pretty sure we’re obligated to watch.
I spent the rainy weekend dutifully watching the activities, and I’ve come to the following conclusions:
– Horse dressage is quite possibly the most confounding event of the entire production. I know everyone likes to rag on curling, but this one makes curling look like playoff . . . whatever major league sport you find exciting. As far as I can understand, it mostly involves a member of British royalty in a top hat and tails slowly riding a horse around a square pen. The announcers manage to affect a fair amount of excitement (Look at that transition! Beautiful turn! What a very shiny hat!), but for me this ranks in entertainment value somewhere above televised palace-dusting and below the mutton-eating contest in the Great Hall or competitive serf-racing. “Downton Abbey” is on Netflix now, isn’t it?
– Water polo looks like competitive splashing horseplay, and the biddies who policed my grandparents’ condo’s pool down in Florida never would have stood for it. In other words, so much fun! Makes me wish I’d joined in more camp games of pick-up pool basketball. Same thing, right?
– Female Russian gymnasts redefine the word “intense.” They mostly confirm my suspicion that all Russians live inside some version of a Tolstoy novel.
– Synchronized diving is so. Freaking. Cool. Makes me wish I’d spent my childhood working on more than my cannonball/bellyflop combination. Seems to be an unpopular routine.
– While my lack of athleticism has always been apparent, I can’t imagine why my parents didn’t think to get my involved in one of the less glamorous, less populated Olympic events that involve less than, say, competitive rowing. Like archery! Perhaps I could have been a contender. I just want to walk in those opening ceremonies. Just once.
I remain steadfast in my blind obligation to continue watching. I just wish they’d air the gymnastics a little earlier. I keep falling asleep before all the good stuff happens.
What’s your favorite event to watch?
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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