Every month, members of teamTEENauthor write a blog post for teens on a specific topic. August’s topic is Olympic Dreams. For links to more posts on this topic, scroll to the bottom.
The Olympics are over and this post is about a week late. No matter, we’re really just early for the next Olympics. That’s in, like, four years, right? Or something?
I have a horrible confession: I am not a fan of the Olympics. I don’t actively dislike them, but I am not the type who arranges my schedule to watch any events. My DVR isn’t even plugged in (no cable), but if it were, I would not have set it for the Olympics (except to record gymnastics for my wife). All told, I may have watched about ten minutes total of this year’s games in various clips online and a few idle minutes of live television.
See, I’m not much of a sports person in general. I am terribly uncoordinated and afraid of personal injury, and yes, there are some physical and emotional scars from years of gym classes. I wear glasses, which are somewhat incompatible with most sports activities, though I can muddle my way through occasional volleyball or tennis matches. I like to see baseball games with friends at a stadium once in a while, but other than that, my only exposure to sports is via Friday Night Lights.
So the Olympics never held much allure for me, and it was never my dream to compete or even see them firsthand. When I lived in NYC and the city was lobbying to host this year’s games, I was vehemently against it, realizing the Olympics would basically shut down New York for anyone who actually lives there.
So instead of sharing my non-existent Olympic dreams with you, I’m just going to feature the things that I associate with the Olympics from my childhood and teen years:
Mary Lou Retton
For some reason, when I was a kid I liked sports more than I do now. Inexplicably, I may have thought I would be a baseball player one day. I don’t know where that came from, but I’m glad I grew out of it. It seems I also had a crush on the gold-winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton. She isn’t really my type now, but I guess she’s kind of cute.
Nadia Comano… Comena… Comăneci
Again with the gymnasts. In this case, I think I remember this well-known Romanian gymnast because I saw a movie about her when I was a kid and I must have been inspired by it or just liked it a lot. Or maybe I just like the name Nadia. I don’t think I’ve actually seen the real Nadia perform, only the actresses who played her on TV. From all accounts, she was pretty good though.
Speaking of movies, I was probably most inspired by the Olympics as portrayed by Hollywood in the sappy yet stirring Disney film Cool Runnings, the touching story of the first Jamaican bobsledding team. Loosely based on a true story, it’s a total rooting for the underdog movie, and it taught me about perseverance in the face of adversity. It’s actually been a while since I re-watched this one, so it might be time for me to dust off my laserdisc. This film is infamous for its slow clap.
Though I wasn’t into real sports, I enjoyed cartoon “sports” a lot, and I faithfully re-watched reruns of a show called Scooby’s Laff-A-Lympics on the USA network. This was a bizarre program that pitted various Hanna-Barbera characters against each other in wacky events that vaguely resemble Olympic sports. I pretty much only remember the races and maybe some kind of pole-vaulting? I think I always rooted for the Scooby Doobies, because at the time I watched anything that had Scooby Doo in it, and the team’s color was blue–my favorite. It’s only because of this show that I know certain characters like Dick Dastardly and Muttley at all. It was kind of absurd that I had any investment in the outcome of these contests, since it was all fictional and pre-determined and for all I knew I was just watching the same episodes over and over again. But care I did!
By far, my favorite and the most memorable Olympic moment from my childhood is this one, a scene from the overall awful film Superman III, in which Superman has become a complete dick thanks to exposure to artificial red Kryptonite. While under the influence, he pulls the churlish move you’ll see in the following clip.
I don’t know why I find this so hilarious, especially the expression on the poor athlete’s face. That was really mean. Superman further endears himself to the world by straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which I thought was rather decent of him.
What are you reminded of when you think of the Olympics? Aside from the things I’ve shared here, I tend to think of the original Olympians, the Greek gods, because I really love mythology!
Read more Olympic Dreams from these teamTEENauthor participants: