I don’t watch television on a regular basis. I haven’t been a victim of reality TV, I like cooking but not cooking shows, sitcoms generally bore me, I don’t care who is going to be the next pop icon, and I have no patience for dramatic series. Maybe I’ll watch the news if I know something important is going on in the world. Or I’ll watch TV series years after they’ve been cancelled, through Netflix, in a burst of watching that is over quickly. And I never, ever, watch sports. Ever.
But for some reason, every two years, I find myself glued to the television watching the Olympics. This year, I actually had to find a coaxial cable and hook up the television in order to watch. Volleyball, water polo, gymnastics, diving, synchronized diving (!?), track & field, swimming, BMX, indoor cycling, and the list goes on. I can’t step away.
During these sixteen days I become someone else. I criticize the television network for not showing events, which I’ve last watched four years before, at times convenient to me – rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, trampoline – and become an expert in sports I didn’t even know existed – Olympic handball, for instance. I can tell when a diver’s splash is too big, how much of a deduction the step on that vault landing is, and whether or not the passing of the baton during the relay is a good pass.
I’m not sure what overcomes me. Is it the camaraderie of the athletes? All of the countries coming together? The novelty of the sports? The spectacle? The rise of the underdog? The idea that we can all achieve our dreams? The fact that Gold and Bronze bring tears of happiness, but no one wants the Silver medal? Or maybe it’s just the Russian women’s Track & Field uniforms? I’m just not sure.
Maybe it’s all of these things. Maybe it’s none of them. I can’t really tell, and I don’t think it matters. Whatever it is, I’ve got my coaxial cable waiting for winter 2014 and my favorite event, the biathlon (cross-country skiing + rifle shooting = ridiculous & awesome).