Fives: Missing the Olympics vs. Missing the Olympics

  The Canadian girls' soccer team wins bronze in Rio.   Image from

The Canadian girls' soccer team wins bronze in Rio.  Image from

The best part of these Olympics is that I kind of kept up with them.  People who are Fives, or who have a Five wing tend to wait till something is over to get excited about it.  They get overwhelmed with hype so easily that they tend to be either futurists or historians- they want to be studying what everyone has left behind, or what no one else knows about yet, because being mentally or physically involved with something happening in the moment when pulses are fast and blood is pumping and people are yelling and screaming is just too much energy.  I tend to either be an early adopter, or I will refuse to adopt the thing even after it's crested in popularity.  That crest is just too crowded, and after the crest has passed, it's time to look for the new thing on the horizon. 

So yay!  Look who kind of got involved with Olympic coverage and had actual, informed conversations about the Olympics WHILE they were on!  This never happens.  I'm still waiting for Harry Potter hype to die down so I can see what all the excitement's about... and the Hunger Games?  God, when will that be over?  So now I'm missing the Olympics versus having missed them. 

Now, comensurate with that thought, I found this August 16 Olympics "update" from the New York Times staff to be pretty funny.  Basically, if you had to get involved in the Olympics, what sport would you choose? 

RIO DE JANEIRO — During downtime at the Rio Games, staff members from The New York Times keep mulling over a question: If you had to participate in one sport in the Summer Games, which would it be? We’ve come up with a bunch of answers and rationales — see below — and now we would like to hear from readers.

First, some caveats. It is assumed, for the purposes of this mental exercise, that you are going to lose lopsidedly or, in the case of team sports, fail epically. In fact, all of you weekend warrior runners, former college soccer stars, judo red belts — don’t choose your specialty and then explain that it’s because you would fare pretty well, if you do say so yourself. Nope. Let’s assume that you are going to come up waaay short. In fact, you are going to be humiliated. The question, really, is in what context will you endure this humiliation.

Another caveat: You have to compete. No choosing, say, basketball and then suggesting that you could somehow sit on the bench the whole time. Now, to get you going, here are some of our answers:

Sarah Lyall  I’m going with racewalking. All the competitors look ridiculous, so no extra embarrassment there. I am from New York and walk fast anyway. You can hide in the pack of other athletes at the beginning of the race, and then, when they all pass you, you can whip on a Rio 2016 sweatshirt, racewalk off the course and mingle with the spectators.

Andrew Keh  Rhythmic gymnastics. As you all know, I’ve been gifted in life with a truly expressive body. And I think if I closed my eyes, let myself get lost in the music, and waved that ribbon like I was alone dancing in my apartment, I could be an underdog podium threat. A caipirinha would help.

Ken Belson  The 10-meter air pistol is the way to go. No one watches it. There’s no chance of injury. There’s a one-in-a-million chance I’d succeed. Also, it’s the first event in the Olympics, so you can get out of Dodge quickly.

Joe Ward  When I was a kid, I played a mean game of table tennis against my mother on our dining room table. I think I’ve still got it.

Jim Luttrell  Put me in the pool. Fifty-meter freestyle. I’d be a crowd favorite once they saw my flabby body on the block, cute little paunch hanging over my suit. A stark difference between me and the zero-body-fat Adonises. I’d draw laughs with my probable belly flop and more laughs when the crowd realized my goggles came off in the process. But I’d finish, damn it. I’d bow to the crowd and no doubt become an internet sensation, which is my goal in life to begin with.

Anna Jean Kaiser  Rowing coxswain. Even if you do mess up everyone’s rhythm, the audience can’t tell it’s your fault.

Victor Mather  Team handball goalie. Just stand there and wave your arms. Most of the time they don’t save it, anyway. Drawback is, you get a ball thrown hard at your face occasionally.

As for me, I’d choose fencing. Few people know what great fencing looks like, which means that you could probably fool some onlookers simply by doing your “Three Musketeers” impression. Also, if you have watched a competition, you know that both athletes often fist-pump and celebrate after an attack. In other words, you could pretend to have won at various moments, even if you never landed a touch. Best of all, you get to wear a mask. You can compete, lose and still keep a fig leaf of dignity because nobody will see your face.

So there's my wrap-up.  I will be cheering alongside you all- including many Fives, I hope- in the next Olympics.