Ah, the Summer Olympics. I'm not sure what I love the absolute most about the games but anyone who knows me can tell you I'm one of those obsessive Olympic viewers.
I mean, if you don't believe me, call my cable company. They've had to replace our digital recording device 19 times already, and we've still got another week to go.
Yep, I love, love, love the Olympics.
It's just that, there are a few teensy weensy little things that bug me about the games. Only a couple, really.
Like, it irritates me that badminton continues to be considered an Olympic sport after baseball got the shaft. (Especially in light of this year's badminton scandal dude, isn't that some kind of oxymoron?) But anyway, that's all.
Well, that and handball. I mean, I think softball should totally get props over handball, but whatever.
Oh, and that annoying Andrea Joyce from NBC. Who wrote the questions she's asking these just-out-of-the-pool-and-can't-talk-because-I-just-spent-all-my-oxygen swimmers anyway? "Michael Phelps, you just blew the event you dominated in 2008. How do you feel in this moment?" Just once I'd love to see one of them toss her in the drink, microphone and all.
But, that's all. I love everything else.
Pretty much. Sorta.
Look, I'm not alone in my peeves. For instance, my husband Kerry wants to know what the heck the pingpong players are doing with the ball just before they launch into super-over-exaggerated movements atop that tiny little court.
For her part, my sister Gina inquires why it's considered pingpong everywhere and all the time except during the Olympics when it's, ahem, "table tennis."
She's also chapped that professionals play against amateurs in certain sports. Hmm. She's got a point there.
For my buddy Mariah Gibbons, it's the pageantry of the opening ceremony she loves, while it pains her to see any athlete (who's clearly trained a lifetime to get to that particular moment) fall victim to an off day. Agreed.
Trumbull county native Charleen Scott is also saddened by fall-short performances - and inane editorial remarks, especially if they disparage American players in any way. Maybe we'll both be lucky and see jabber-mouth Joyce get an Olympic-sized wedgie soon.
Either way, my pal Connie Poulton's been hooked on women's gymnastics since she saw Olga Korbut perform in the 1970s. It's also girl gymnast mania for my little pal Samantha Phillips, though it was a few years later when the 20-something fell in love with that sport.
But the truth is that the Olympics are that very special time when dunderheads like me think we somehow have the right to weigh in on a sport in which we could never even dream of competing. So, what do we very vocal viewers actually know? Not much. Except this:
- When you win, or even when you don't, thank your mother - and God. Not necessarily in that order.
- We want you to be confident but not too cocky, especially to your fellow American athletes. Be nice.
- We want you to sing or at least mouth the words to the "Star Spangled Banner" up on that podium. Seriously. We mean it. You're representing the entire nation up there; please remember that.
Ah, one last thing
- It's OK to cry - whether it's out of joy or frustration. Because, at the end of the day, we will cheer for American Olympic athletes over anyone and everyone else. Period.
In fact, all we really want is for you to beat China. And Russia. And Japan. And Romania. Ooh, and you gotta smoke France, for the love of Pete!
Go Team USA!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and crazy-nutball cheerleader for any and all U.S. Olympic athletes - even ping-pong. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.