The Summer Olympics are coming up. I had no idea they were so soon. This probably means I’m broken, right? People get VERY EXCITED about the Olympics. Like, VERY excited. People plan their days around the viewing of the Olympics.
I’m going to tell you something very, very shocking. Ready? Ready for the shocking? I don’t care even one teeny tiny little bit about the Olympics.
BUT AMY! GO MERKA!
Yes. Yes, I know. I am not a complete jerk; I know that these athletes train their whole lives for this, and that they perform some pretty stunning feats of stamina and endurance and whatnot. Of course I appreciate that. I’m not denigrating the athletes. Go, athletes! You are very impressive.
I just do not care. Because the Olympics is sports. Are sports? I can make a valid case for either tense of that verb, I really can.
I don’t watch regular sports on television, and I really don’t care about these sports, either. I kind of was all “go Michael Phelps” when he was winning last time around, because he was a little adorable and you wanted him to win, you know? But I didn’t WATCH him swim. Because I didn’t CARE to watch it. Don’t care about it. Because it is SPORTS.
I know, you all think I’m a hooligan or something and I’m broken, but whatever, I just don’t care. Listen, we even had the Olympics a little over an hour from my home when I was a wee Amy – in Lake Placid, does anyone remember that? – and I was a little KID and didn’t care about those Olympics. I think the only thing I cared about during those Olympics was that you could collect stickers on bananas of the different events, and then stick the stickers on this plastic vest on this collectible Olympic raccoon doll, so I was all into collecting my raccoon banana stickers. As for the events themselves – well, I was too little to know what malaise was, but I was certainly good at experiencing it. DID NOT CARE.
(Side note: I do like Olympics in films, like The Cutting Edge. SHUT UP THAT IS A GOOD MOVIE. TOE PICK!)
In order to find out when the Olympics were this time around (in all seriousness, I didn’t even know if they were winter or summer Olympics, that’s how out of the Olympic loop I am) I went to my old friend Google, who was very helpful in informing me that they were summer Olympics and would be starting in a couple of weeks. Huh. I had no idea. I knew they were in London, though. That’s impressive, right? Go, me, with my knowledge of foreign affairs!
Then on the same site that was all “YOU DUMMY THEY’RE IN TWO WEEKS,” it had a schedule of when the different events would appear, and when the medals would be awarded, and it was in pretty colors and such. Very helpful, website! So, so helpful.
But also confusing, because some of these things I had NO IDEA were actually events. It’s like when you’re reading the Guinness Book of World Records and you’re all, “What? There’s a record for widest tie? Who thought THAT was a good idea?” (I made that up. That’s totally not a record. OR IS IT, I don’t know, I don’t read that book.)
Like, sure, I knew a lot of there were events. Things like archery and swimming and tennis. Fine. Acceptable. People get medals in such things. Even synchronized swimming, even though it makes me laugh until I snort because I always think of that Saturday Night Live skit with Martin Short and his floaties. “I’m not that strong a swimmer.” Right? You think of that when you think of synchronized swimming, too, right? If you don’t, you might be broken, because it is kick-ass hilarious. But I’m not putting down the synchronized swimmers. If that’s their thing, good for them. I can’t even swim, what do I care? I’d drown just getting in the pool, let alone trying to do the same things someone else is doing, good grief. Unless what that other person is doing is drowning. Then I’d be VERY good at that. Very very good.
Let’s look at some of the weird things. Also, I ran this post by my dad, so you get to see what he thinks about what I think is weird.
One: “Athletics.” That’s actually on this schedule. I was all, “What the hell kind of competition is athletics? That’s a total catch-all title. Could you just show up and do anything athletic you wanted to? Like, flex? Or throw paper airplanes really really well? Or jog in place?” Then I had the giggles for about twenty minutes. But I realized if you hovered over the timeline of “athletics” you’d see that there was actually a schedule for them and mostly it was stuff we’d have called “track and field” when I was in high school, like shot-put and javelin-throwing and such. Why the hell don’t you just call it track and field, then? Weird.
(SIDE NOTE: one of the “athletic” events? Is “hammer throwing.” Hee! I want to throw hammers. I’d feel like one of the Mario Brothers. Also, can I pick who’s standing in the way when it lands? I feel like, as a champion hammer-thrower, I should get to choose who I’m throwing the hammer AT. Another event? “Race Walking.” Isn’t that what old people do at the mall? That’s an event? Well, sign up the old people at the mall, then, they could totally win this!)
Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “Amy, it’s not even a hammer. You take things way too seriously. Also, they don’t get to throw them AT anyone.”
Two: “Badminton.” This is an Olympic event? I’ve totally missed my calling. I used to be VERY good at badminton when we played it at my camp when I was a kid. Except our rackets were really jacked-up and the birdie would often get stuck in the racket. When that happened, we would laugh and laugh and sometimes throw the racket at the other player. It was kind of badminton to the death at my camp. So I think I’ve had my badminton trial-by-fire, and so therefore would be very qualified to win the badminton Olympic gold. Also, I totally took a joint badminton/archery gym class in college. Shut up, it totally counted for my gym class requirement. My other gym class (we had to take two) was YOGA. I know! I might have taken the two classes that made me exert the least energy ever. Gym class got its revenge on me, however, because in my yoga class was my ex, and therefore I had to see him being all bendy twice a week and flirting with someone else, and that was awkward because the breaking off of the whole thing had been full of hatred and glaring. Wait, I don’t know if you can call someone your ex if they were never officially your boyfriend and they were just the guy you were hooking up with in the hope they would become your boyfriend until the day you walked in on them getting gay with a guy and you thought to yourself, “MAN I wish I’d knocked.” I mean. Hypothetically. Heh. Heh heh. Oh. We were talking about badminton, weren’t we? I wasn’t very good at it in college. It was a lot harder, because in college there were these things called “rules” and also certain places you had to stand on the floor and such and the birdie NEVER got stuck in the racket, not ever, so you never got to throw your racket. Also, probably if you did, you’d have failed gym.
Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “I knew someone at work who used to play badminton competitively. We used to ask him if he had a purse. You know. Like he was a LADY. I think this is a lady-sport.” My response: “That’s kind of sexist, Dad.” Dad’s response: “Yes.”
Three: two, count ‘em, TWO, canoe events! “Canoe slalom” and “Canoe sprint.” Isn’t slalom when you go back and forth? In a CANOE? That’d be all sloshy and there’d be a lot of potential to crash into things, I don’t know about that. Also, “sprint?” I don’t know that you sprint in a canoe. Canoe RACING, I can see, but “sprint” seems an odd way to phrase something, right? Hmm.
Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “They’re not really canoes. They’re kayaks. This is named confusingly.”
Four: “BMX Cycling.” Listen, my brother used to BMX cycle, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an Olympic sport. Mostly he just rode up to the neighbors’ house and they played kickball and then he came home. What’s involved in this? Like, is it off-roading? Are there ramps? Younger Brother used to set up ramps made out of chipboard and those things you use in a garage to drive a car up on to check the underparts of the car and then he’d ride over them and my mom would be all “YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK YOUR BONES.” Is that what “BMX Cycling” is? I think it’d be awesome if they had to build their own ramps out of things they found lying around the area, like trash and tourists.
Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “They’re always adding crap to the Olympics so kids will watch it instead of putting graffiti on office buildings. Like this event, and also snowboarding.”
Five: “Table Tennis.” Really? That’s what Forrest Gump did, isn’t it? Isn’t this just a fancy way of saying ping pong? I didn’t know you could get a gold in something that people do in their basements when they’re stoned and drinking PBR and listening to old-school Pink Floyd. What’s next, gold medals in air hockey? ZOMG HOW MUCH DO I WANT A GOLD MEDAL IN AIR HOCKEY. Or Skee-Ball! YES YES YES. When’s the next Olympics? At the next Olympics, I will be winning the gold medal for SKEE-BALL. Think of all the tickets I could get THEN that I could trade in for valuable prizes like large stuffed animals or velvet Elvises!
Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “Amy, you KNOW that table tennis is an Olympic Sport. Don’t you remember the whole uproar about the Chinese that time? I think it was in the 50s?” Me: “Dad, how old do you think I AM?” Dad: “Oh. Heh. Yeah. Good point. ANYWAY, moving ON, if they could get someone to sponsor Skee-Ball, it would totally be a sport in the Olympics. You wouldn’t win it, though. You don’t have very good hand-eye coordination, and you’d probably hit a judge in the neck with the ball.”
Six: “Trampoline.” I have a STORY! About a TRAMPOLINE! Not that long ago, like a little over ten years or so, back when I wasn’t so socially awkward, I went to a theater party. And people got drunk drunk DRUNK. It was at a house – if I’m remembering correctly? – that one of the cast members was housesitting for? Something along those lines. Either way, it wasn’t any of our homes. It was FANCY. Anyway, I didn’t get drunk, because I was driving home. But there were some younger cast members there, and they got WASTED. And there was a trampoline in the backyard. And it (for some reason) had like a shower curtain around it. (It wasn’t a shower curtain. I have no idea how to describe it. It was like it was a contained unit of trampoline. So no one could see you jumping? I don’t know.)
So a few of the younger cast members decided to go in there and smoke. I’m pretty sure it was just cigarettes but I’m not ruling out other substances. It was a crazy night. And – AND – they were SO DRUNK that they butted their cigarettes (or whatever they were smoking) out ON THE TRAMPOLINE. Which burned a HOLE in the trampoline. MULTIPLE HOLES. So the following week when we got back to the theater we were ALL informed we owed like $100 each for trampoline repair. I was all, “SO SORRY CHARLIE, I’m not paying for drunken stupidity, no no not me.” (Also, I didn’t have $100 to spend on trampoline repair. I couldn’t even buy food. I’m not even kidding. I was surviving on whatever people didn’t finish and said I could have at rehearsals, and 99 cent bean burritos at Taco Bell. Oh, and water. It was a dark time in Amy-land. $100 might as well have been a MILLION dollars to me at that time. Still kind of is now, to be honest.) Anyway, I have no idea what happened there. But, let this serve as a cautionary tale, on a lot of levels. A., don’t let theater people get drunk at the house you’re housesitting at; B., don’t butt burning things out on trampolines, C., don’t ask me for $100 for repair of something I didn’t ruin, because DAMN, son, the only thing I did at that party was pine over the southern redhead I was in love with at the time but if I remember correctly he was pissed at me for something that night even though I looked AMAZING and was so, so dressed up and wore heels that gave me blisters for like a MONTH.
Oh, that really wasn’t at all on-topic. What would trampolining have to do with the Olympics? Would you…bounce and then flip? Put cigarettes out on the trampoline and then catch them in your mouth on the way down? It’s all very confusing. Also, trampolines are dangerous and you could break your neck on there.
Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “I think this is just gymnastics on a trampoline for people that don’t like to do gymnastics on the ground like normal people.”
The rest of the things are things I’ve heard of so I guess I’m down with them. I mean, “handball” and “artistic gymnastics” are a little suspect, but mostly because handball seems like a made-up thing for people who can’t afford rackets (am I spelling rackets wrong? Should that be racquets? That looks fancy, so I’m going to guess “rackets” is how we spell it here in MERKA and “racquets” is how they spell it in EUROPE. Oh, wait, one time Ken called Europe something funny like MERKA and now I have forgotten it. Um. Um. Um. I REMEMBER! It was YERP and I LOVE that. So in YERP they are racquets and in MERKA they are rackets. Or if they’re not, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway, so that’s the NEW rule.) Oh, and “artistic gymnastics” reminds me of the time in Old School that Will Ferrell was doing that floor routine with that ribbon in honor of his dead friend Blue and that made me laugh until I almost peed.
Yes, yes. I have the sense of humor of either a five-year-old or a frat boy. I know. I KNOW. It’s a thing. I deal with it. Moving on.
Anyway, I hope you all have fun watching the Olympics, and best of luck to all of the competitors, and I hope you don’t fall off the trampolines or get a ping-pong ball to the eyehole. I will be watching programs from almost a year ago, because I am THAT FAR BEHIND on my television viewing. Soon I hope to be caught up enough that I know what you’re all talking about when you make pop-culture references, won’t that be the best? Yes! YES IT WILL!