By the time you read this, the Rio Olympics will probably be over and that’s OK. Don’t get me wrong. I always get a little “No, no, there’s just something in my eye” when I hear the national anthem playing and an American is standing on the center podium clutching that grandly gaudy gold medal.
Americans winning in any sport hits me in the feels, as the kids say. You’d have to be tougher’n woodpecker lips not to be moved by the medal ceremony IMHO.
So why am I glad to see the Olympics end?
Because they remind me, right on schedule, every four years, that, when it comes to physical fitness, I fall somewhere between “ability to hold head up and not fall face-first into raisin bran” and “death.”
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As the nation dutifully watched Michael Phelps slice through the water and break another Olympic record, I realized that I wasn’t technically fit enough to even be one of the judges who WALKS along the side of the pool during the events. It looked exhausting. Plus they have to hold a clipboard.
As usual, there was no escape from Olympic fever. Even at the nail salon, all eyes were on the water polo finals. What a fabulously goofy looking sport! But even water polo was so captivating, the woman doing my pedicure looked away as a point was scored and, in her excitement, managed to take out a small chunk of my ankle with that cheese-grater gizmo.
“Sorry,” she said, with a little shrug. “Olympics.” It was a fairly halfhearted apology muttered while I literally bled for my country.
I felt small. Not adorable U.S. women’s gymnastics team “small” but the other kind. Where your biggest physical challenge of the week was to heft your big American butt into a “pedi-spa” recliner and reach waaay behind to find the remote control for the back massage. I’m gonna feel that tomorrow.
Fun fact: I became irrationally fascinated with Phelps’s “cupping” marks. As it turns out, swimmers sometimes use suction cup acupuncture to loosen muscles and improve circulation. For some reason, I didn’t get this information until very late in my Olympics viewing and I thought they were hickeys from an extremely O.C.D. girlfriend.
Thank goodness Bob Costas straightened me out. This was right before I noticed another U.S. swimmer had the same marks which, let’s just say, would’ve made the whole girlfriend thing very sticky indeed.
(“Let’s take this outside and settle it like gentlemen, Ryan!”)
But this is the hobgoblin of little minds! And speaking of little minds, what’s with the hypercritical broadcasting team?
“Simone Biles will earn bronze, not gold, in the beam competition.
Pity. With all the hopes and dreams of her entire nation disappearing like a shower of talcum powder she will most likely be forced to spend her 20s operating a gymnastics apparel outlet in an Ohio strip mall or the like. Really, what else is there for her now?”
I give that a 0.0.
Celia Rivenbark is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.