Gamely viewing the Olympics

By Marla Boone - Contributing Columnist

You know the theme song for the Olympics that begins with all the percussion instruments? Some wag on the radio made a good case for the opening words to be, “This is the drum part. This is the drum part.” Now do you know which song I’m talking about? Well, it has been playing almost non-stop the past two weeks. If you haven’t heard it you are obviously not trying hard enough. Or living at my house.

I love to watch the Olympics. I feel nothing but admiration for the fabulous athletes who have devoted their lives to excellence in sports. Even though some of those sports are boring.

The summer sports, for instance, to which we all were just treated. Run, run, run. Jump, jump, jump. Run then jump. Jump then run. Throw the javelin, catapult yourself into the sand pit, and flop over the high bar. These are activities even a normal person might do. Not this normal person, mind you, but some other normal person.

But it’s the rare normal person who competes in many sports featured in the winter Olympics. Some of these sports are just strange and by strange I mean who made these events up?

Biathlon allows competitors to slither around a frozen course on two-inch wide skis as fast as they can with a rifle strapped to their backs. We could stop right there and be assured a place in the annals of strangeness. But wait, as they say on late-night TV, there’s more. After achieving a heart rate of approximately two hundred beats per minutes and activating every muscle in their bodies to an advanced state of quivering, these athletes shed their skis, plop down on their bellies, and try to shoot a very very small target. Since their cardiac system is on overdrive pumping blood to their massive thighs, no oxygen is getting to their brains, which explains a lot. Then they leap back up, strap their skis back on, and go to the next target shooting station. Also, they are trying not to throw up, especially onto their rifles. You have to admit, this is good stuff.

Curling, as I understand it, originated in Scotland and is immensely popular in the northern reaches of Middle America. It consists of a stone, two brooms, and people not afraid to use them. One person pushes a stone over ice while teammates sweep the ice path in front of the stone to make it go faster or slower or something. A team of four folks, who are all safely on the ground and moving about five feet per minute, scream their heads off, presumably at the stone, although it’s very probable they are screaming at the fact that they have to spend their winters in Minnesota. The main attraction to curling is that people rarely throw up. Personally speaking, if I am going to invest some time in pushing something over ice, that something is going to be vodka.

But for sheer madness interspersed with a little physics, how about the ninety meter ski jump? You think your winters are bad? The ninety meter ski jump is an indication of just how lousy winters are in Scandinavia. Norwegians’ winters are so horrible they invented a sport the main component of which involves leaping off a mountain. For the metrically challenged, let us review how high 90 meters is. A meter is a little over three feet. So ninety of those bad boys translates to a long way up. Oddly enough, ski jumpers, whose survival depends on the ability to make sort of a wing with their bodies bent over their teeny slats of skis and who are hurtling through thin air at breakneck (literally) speed with almost no protective gear, never scream. But they do have to stick their landings, just like. …

Ice skaters. Ice skating has been having a tough time recently, what with the lack of objectivity and shared medals and those dreadful close-ups in the kiss and cry area. Skaters face enormous expenses, horrific schedules to accommodate available ice time, and the looming prospect of an international sequin shortage. I think they all deserve a “10” for just getting to the Olympics.

That’s a 2.9 from the Russian judge.

By Marla Boone

Contributing Columnist

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.