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One generation removed from the flower children of the ’60s, I find myself struggling with the notion that my three-year-old daughter is a would-be nudist. (see https://thehenderson.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/is-my-daughter-a-nudist/ ).
Yesterday afternoon I am doing some cooking out on the grill and it was still in the upper 90-degree range, so I decided to hop in the pool while the grill heated up. Of course nothing gets by M, and she had already noticed that I am wearing a swimsuit despite my best efforts to conceal the fact. I had not been outside for more than two minutes when I hear the faint rumblings of her little hands banging against the glass door. Knowing full and well that she will not give up, and that the glass pounding is only going to intensify, I relent and let her come outside with me.
Not being able to withstand the heat any longer, I step down into the refreshing pool a couple of steps and of course M had a radar lock on me. She immediately has both feet in and is standing on the top step holding her somewhat 1960’s era throwback dress up around her thighs so that it did not get wet. Of course she is not going to be satisfied with just getting her feet wet. She is so close to reaching her goal of swimming that she will not be denied. I tell her that she can not swim because she will get her dress and panties all wet. I am thinking that will halt her progress, or at the very least, send her back inside to hassle Mommy about putting on a swimsuit.
As I expected, she steps back out of the pool and heads back toward the house. However, what happens next is NOT something that I expect. I turn around to look over at the grill to see if I still have a few minutes to enjoy the water when I hear this almost wicked little cackle from behind me. I whip around toward the pool steps to see my toddler wearing the exact outfit that she was born in. That’s right, she is standing there completely naked on the top step to the pool maniacally giggling. She is oh so proud of herself. All that she is missing is a peace symbol-laden headband and a hand-rolled joint and we would have a Woodstock re-creation.
I immediately break out laughing. It has to be the cutest, funniest thing she has done in a while. Of course, I can not deny her access to the pool, so I let her experience her first skinny dip. In fact, I have not even skinny dipped in our pool, so she is crossing new boundaries all around. I swear I can hear Jimi Hendrix wailing out the Star Spangled Banner on his axe. I can smell the marijuana in the air as freedom and love flow through my veins.
After a quick “swim” (she does not know how to swim yet, so Daddy floats her around as if she were swimming) around the pool I land her back at the steps and we both get out of the pool. (If I don’t get out, she won’t either). I wrap her in a towel, stick a flower in her hair, and send her in to regale Mommy with the tale of her freedom swim. Needless to say, Mommy is not very happpy with M…or Daddy for that matter.
I continue to chuckle to myself as I unconsciously flip sweet corn and chicken on the grill. I had hoped that the whole nudity phase was coming to and end, but now I can’t help but wonder if my sweet little daughter could be Janis Joplin or Gypsy Rose reincarnate…
People start having children for a myriad of reasons ranging from pregnancies planned down to the minute detail, to just plain ole accidents, or even adoption. We planned both of our children with careful and exact detail. We employed the use of ancient Mayan and Aztec calendars, along with astrological signs and a fortune teller. In fact, we had the timing nailed down so precisely that my wife became pregnant with both children on our very first try. I suppose for those that struggle to conceive, this would be a blessing. For me, it was a beating. I missed out on all of the no-strings-attached love-making that had been promised by the ancient prophets…and my drinking buddies. Instead, it was wham, bam, thank you sir. I felt that I had been sexploited. Nonetheless, I got over it and we now have two beautiful children with promising futures, at least we like to envision their futures that way.
Many parents have plans for their children’s futures. Some parents start planning their children’s careers at day one. I imagine these people sitting in their nursery and baby has just finished up a nice feeding with mom and is handed off to dad. You might think that dad is going to rock the baby to sleep, or swaddle him up for the night, but instead he whips out his Make Your Baby A Doctor For Dummies handbook and they immediately go into illustrations of the nervous system. There are, of course, parents at the complete opposite end of this spectrum that have, and never will have any ambition for their children’s futures. I envision a typical scene in such a household where the baby is in the garage scrounging around for food on the floor. The mom is just settling in with her heroin rig. She flicks the air out of her needle and the slips away into unconscious bliss. Dad is not there because he is doing 5-10 for assault with a deadly weapon. These are extreme illustrations and most parents fall somewhere in between.
Like most of you, we find ourselves in the middle of this spectrum, if not more toward the front half. Of course we have a plan for our children’s futures. While we may not be doing flash cards with the bones of the body on them just yet, we do some things that are helping our children progress toward our vision of their future. Our work with M (our 3 year-old daughter) is tracking nicely and we are starting to see some positive results. B (our 8 month-old son) is just crawling now and starting to pull up on things. His training will really start once he is walking. I have already bought him one of those little walk-behind toys to help him master walking. This toy will be the start of his training. You are probably asking what our plan is for our children that requires us to work with them and train at such an early age. I am going to provide you with a glimpse into my children’s futures.
Picture, if you will, the wife and I in our summer attire. We are lying on barcaloungers by the pool and catching some rays. The wife is sipping on a cocktail that is topped with a miniature umbrella and I have an icy imported beer. I look over at her and say, “Should we give the kids a little break?” “Oh I suppose. They have been working really hard lately”, she responds. “Well, they work hard because they have been properly trained”, I say as we clink our drinks together. Oh. What’s that? You want to know what this dream sequence has to do with the kids?
Remember that walk-behind toy of B’s that I mentioned? What about all the games that we played with M that involved picking up dirty clothes or dusting furniture with her stuffed animals, or even moping the floor in her costume? These activities seem meaningless when you look at them individually, but as a whole, they are the foundation for our children’s futures. A future that enables the wife and I to enjoy those cocktails, and enjoy those barcaloungers. I think you are getting the picture now. We are training our children to be our slaves. B’s toy has been training him to mow the lawn since he started walking! All of the games that we played with M that were so fun to her were training for her future as our house keeper! It will be only a matter of a couple of years before the rewards start to roll in.
You may be thinking that they are just children and that they should not have to work so hard. The beauty of this is that they think that they are playing games, or playing with toys! I think this future will work out just fine for them. It could be worse. They could be scrounging around on the floor for food while the wife rigs up and I snuggle up with my cell mate, Leroy. In fact, while the kids are “playing”, I think I will go do some online shopping for barcaloungers.
This weekend offered many firsts for our kiddos (and us for that matter!). The wife and I thought that it might be fun to take M & B on a picnic. In our heads we had it planned out that we would hit a shady park around lunch time on Saturday and we would have an authentic picnic. However, the fact that we have two children that are of the age in which a daily nap is still a necessity, our vision of a proper picnic would not work. Instead, after noon naps, we packed up a bevy of snack foods, loaded up the rug rats and headed out to have our makeshift picnic.
We decided to venture away from our regular park and went to find a new spot for our picnic. We searched online and settled on an old park near downtown Plano. We selected this park partly because it was playing host to an event that we just had to witness. That’s right, The Texas Tree Climbing Championships…in Plano??? Last I checked Plano was filled with overpriced homes and hordes of affluent drug addicted high schoolers. I don’t recall seeing any trees that could serve as the championship of anything other than a coveted HOA yard of the month award. Needless to say, we had to go if only to poke fun at the event.
We get to Bob Woodruff Park and we follow the signs pointing toward the” Tree Climbing Event”. We get out of the car and, as expected, I am not seeing trees that are much different or larger than those on my street. Oh well, we are here and we might as well set up our picnic and make fun of the arborlogical dorks. We walk from the parking area on the sidewalk which quickly ducks out of the standard park clearing into a heavily wooded area. “Wow”, we said as we walk toward what have to be some of the larger trees that we have seen in Texas.
Turns out that some of these trees are friggin’ close to 500 years old! Maybe these arborlogical dudes are not dorks afterall…on second thought, they are still dorks…they are grown men…climbing trees…We decided to stay with the other 100 or so spectators (20 of which were a latino family having a cookout that just happened to be in the same place as the tree climbers). So we spread out the ole blanket and broke out the snacks. We stayed long enough to see two contestants and we had our fill of watching grown men do what we all did when we were 12. I could swear I heard them announcing the next event, “Attention all sling shot and rock skipping contestants…” as we made our way back to our car. All in all, our first family “picnic” was a success and I am looking forward to doing it again (only without the overgrown kids hopefully).
Another first that was experienced this weekend was that I took M to see a movie in a theater. I did not know what to expect because the girl cannot sit through a DVD at home without losing interest or talking the entire time. We load up and head to the theater for the first showing of the day. I was thinking perhaps the theater would not be crowded in the event that M decided to talk over the movie like she does at home. As we pull into the parking lot I see few cars and the outlook is good for a small crowd.
After a brief explanation to M on proper movie etiquette we make our way to the ticket booth. At the last minute I make the judgement call and decide not to see the 3D version of the new Shrek joint. I could see the excitement on M’s face. It is the most awesome thing to witness a child in full amazement of what they are seeing or doing. Her eyes were lit up and she was grinning so big that her eyes were squinted. I can’t explain how it made me feel to see her so excited. Next stop, the snack bar!
Just when I thought that her eyes couldn’t get any wider, they almost popped out of her head when she was standing, nose pressed to the glass of the candy display, and she heard me say, ” You can have any candy you want”. While I was not pleased with her selection of Dots, I upheld my word and bought them for her. Those have to be about the nastiest candy of all of the available choices. Of course, that did not stop her from eating most of the box during the movie (aside from the couple that I had…I had to test for quality…yeah that’s it).
We made our way into theater number 15, a fully packed, number 15. “Oh great”, I thought as we grabbed the last two available seats. My little etiquette lesson must have done some good because she hardly uttered a word during the entire movie except to tell me she needed to potty. AND we only went to the potty once during the entire movie! I could not believe that I walked into a movie theater with a three year-old and we sat through the entire movie in silence and only one short bathroom break. It was at that moment that I realized that my toddler handles a movie better than her mother. I think I just found my new movie date!
So I am driving to work the other day when I come up behind this car and I can see that the driver is moving his arm up and down behind his head. At first I think nothing of this. Perhaps he is stretching, or scratching or something…who knows. However, as I get closer I get a better view. This guy is lifting dumb bells…while driving! I pulled up as close as I could get because I just had to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Sure enough, he’s doing triceps extensions over the back of his seat while driving. I guess this guy is just so busy that he can’t get to the gym. Instead, the only time that he has for a quick workout is while operating a motor vehicle. I use dumb bells at home while watching television. Others use them in a gym. Not this guy. He is so pressed for time that he can only workout while driving. I wonder if he puts the cruise control on and stands up in the seat to do squats. Or maybe he leans his seat all the way back and then does pull-ups on the steering wheel. Perhaps I should try to capitalize on this by creating a workout video…”That’s right folks, you can get your workout in during your morning commute! No more expensive gym fees, no more bulky exercise equipment in your house! All you need are some free weights and the flexibility of a contortionist.” I can tell you this; You know that if this guy has resorted to in-car working out, you can guarantee he has done some in-car rubbing out. Ah yes, the ole road warrior…
(I snapped a photo with my trusty iPhone, but as you fellow iphone-ers know, the camera on the phone is not the best. Hopefully you can see it on here…) Yes, I realize that me driving at 70 MPH and attempting to take a photo is Exhibit A of me doing the exact thing that I am on here ranting about…
Anyway, this got me to thinking about the crazy things that I have seen or heard about people doing while they are driving. As a commuter, I have seen just about everything there is to see as far as a person doing things while driving a car that are typically not done in a car. I have seen people reading everything from the newspaper to what appear to be work documents. I have seen people using laptops. We have all seen (and most likely done ourselves) people texting while driving. I admit that I am guilty of this…and there was a time that I may have attempted the ole road warrior back in college(c’mon, you know you gave a whirl once too)…Hell, if I tried that these days I would surely die in a fiery crash. I can see the headline in the paper, “Plano driver killed while________(insert your masturbation euphemism here)”.
We have all seen the multitude of women that just can’t seem to finish getting ready at their houses so they take to the road to finish up the job. Makeup-ing, hair styling, even getting dressed…all while driving at highway speeds…it’s crazy…I don’t see how some of these women don’t show up at work looking like a carnie. How the hell can you put on mascara while driving? I know a dozen women that could probably teach a clinic. A side question that I have about women and mascara is; Why can’t women close their mouths when putting on mascara?? It must be a physiological reaction to having a miniature hair brush in your eye that makes your jaw drop open.
Of course, it is not just women that are guilty of primping and driving. I have seen men shaving, trimming nose hair and styling their hair while driving. In fact, I still have an electric razor in the console of my truck right now, but at least I can use it and still have one hand on the wheel and both eyes on the road. I have seen a person actually eating a bowl of cereal while driving. Last time I checked this was a two-handed operation. Luckily, we have evolved and are now able to grip a steering wheel with our knees.
Some other things that I have either seen or heard about…people urinating while driving, women sticking her head out of the window to dry her hair while she brushed and drove, people brushing teeth, drivers getting oral pleasure, people actually having sex, digging in the passenger or back seat for stuff, beating their kids in the back seat, AND NURSING A BABY! The list goes on…
The irony that I guess I am getting at as a parent is this: We will flip out if our child gets ahold of a toy with lead-based paint. We won’t let our child our of our site when at a park or playground. We force our kids to wear those embarrassing helmets just to go ride their bikes and yet we turn around and do the things mentioned above with our loved ones riding shotgun. Buck up people, and let’s be smart.
I encourage you to post any tales of crazy things that you have seen people doing while driving.
So two of my buddies and I decided it would be a good idea to do a daddy-daughter camping trip. We all have daughters ranging from 3 to 6 years in age and none of them have been camping before. A weekend was selected and a camping location agreed upon. After a week’s worth of negotiations with my wife, we wer finally cleared for take-off.
Rather than take the economic option and carpool, I was forced to take my own vehicle in the event that M could not handle life on the prairie (I conceded this point during negotiations). This actually ended up being a nice decision because of all of the crap that I had to bring for a one-night camping trip.
The items required for M were as follows (keep in mind this was a one-night event): M had 2 pants, 5 shirts, 3 panties, 4 pairs of socks, a blanket, 2 stuffed animals, 1 princess miniature camp chair, 1 sleeping bag (princess graphics of course), 2 pairs of shoes, 1 towel, 1 pillow, 2 gallon-sized Zip-Lock bags full of every child medicine known to man. Turns out that the only item that I was short on was princess band-aids (I was only outfitted with 4, and once one of them was issued, it seemed that all of the girls mysteriously developed injuries), and last, but not least, a little potty for the girls (this had to be one of the most valuable items we had…guess I just assumed that nature-potty-ing came natural to little girls like it did for us boys…I don’t want to even think of the issues we would have had without that miniature miracle of modern convenience…). In addition to the food items that I was assigned to bring for the group, I had to bring the food items that are M-friendly because she is still a pretty dedicated non-meat-eater. To say the least, the back of my SUV was crammed full (I think it took longer to load and unload than the duration of the actual trip).
A short two hours (and 3 pit stops) later we finally arrived at the camp grounds. While we didn’t get the perfect site, we were able to get a pretty good one. We attempted to bribe the girls with a little snack in hopes that this would keep them occupied while we started setting up tents. Of course this did not work. I counted at least 15 times that there was a toddler/pre-schooler diving into the tent as we attempted to set it up. I won’t even get into how the air mattresses were treated as trampolines…That being said, the tents went up without a hitch.
It was about this time that the third daddy-daughter team arrived (conveniently just after all of the hard work was done hehe). The only reason I mention the late arrival of our third tandem is that they stopped at the general store up the road from the camp site and my buddy unwillingly made a purchase that would haunt us for the rest of the trip.
Inside this standard little general store, tucked away in the back corner behind the fishing lures and Little Debbie snakes was a little display/dispenser of highly polished, multicolored rocks. The idea being that you grab a little draw string bag and fill it with your choice of as many stones as you could fit for a flat rate. Well, my buddy, being the great dad that he is, lets his daughter get a small pouch of said rocks, and any of us would have done the same. However, what my buddy did not know, what any of us did not know, was that these little rocks would be the center of much controversy amongst the daughters. You would have thought that this little girl was the Pablo Escobar of geodes with the way that the other daughters reacted upon seeing them…”yo man, how much fo just one rock?” “I need it, I gotta have it, man” “you got so many rocks, I’ll do anything…cain’t have just one?” The dialog may not have been quite so Menace II Society-ish, but you get the idea.
Despite the small spats over the rocks, things were going pretty well. We took the girls on a nice little hike and let them throw some rocks into the stream. They would have stayed there for hours if we had let them. It was not just picking up rocks and throwing them into the water. No, they had to find the perfect rock. “I have an idea, let’s toss that bag of multi-colored rocks in the creek, whataya say?”, I said…in my head. It was great to sit back and watch them interact with one another. My 3 year-old was on an entirely different plane than the older girls, but yet they all agreed on one thing, throwing rocks into the creek is big fun. Big fun until my daughter looses her footing and takes a little spill into the drink. Needless to say, our little hike was over shortly thereafter.
We get back to camp and it’s time to get the camp fire up and going. To the girls, the lighting of the camp fire meant one thing, and one thing only, SMORES! So we start cooking up some burgers and dogs when we realize that we forgot to bring any type of eating utensils, plates, cups, etc. Thankfully we were eating a typically hand-held meal, so this was not a huge issue. It just bruised our all-knowing camping egos.
So, the girls ate a combined total of one hot dog (no bun), 1/2 of a hamburger, and one hand crafted peanut butter and jelly sandwich (one guess as to who ate this…) This might be cause for concern had they not eaten a bucket of trail mix, a bag of beef jerky, several snack packs of goldfish, fruit snacks, and a drank gallon of Capri-Sun throughout the day. It should be no surprise that dinner obviously did not take long to finish. Bring on the smores.
The smore feast was a really fun period in the trip. None of the girls had eaten smores before and it was quite a treat for them. They had a blast roasting marshmallows although all agreed that they did not like the “black” part. You can imagine the sticky messes that ensued as the girls picked away the charred exterior of the roasted marshmallows to reveal the melted center. I think I am still picking sticky goo out of M’s hair…(hold your “Something About Mary” references please)
As the daylight faded to dark, the good times roared on for the girls. We provided them all with their very own identical flashlight (you would think that this would keep them from fighting over the flashlights…and you would be wrong). I ended up having to provide my daughter with her own (you guessed it) princess flashlight so that everyone knew which one was her light. Ahh to get into the mind of a toddler…We also had a special treat of glow sticks for the girls to play with in the tent. (Between the “crack” rocks and the glow sticks, Insert your rave jokes here.)
The girls’ normal bed times range from 8:00 to 8:30 PM. It was around 11:00 PM that the screaming and giggling finally died down and they all passed out. The daddy’s stayed up until around 3:30 AM enjoying some fire-side beverages, stoking the fire, and solving the world’s problems.
I crawl into my tent and just as I get comfortable I hear the crunching of sticks and leaves outside as someone approached my tent. Then I hear the dreaded, “Merrit is awake and needs to tinkle”. Are you F-ing kidding me! I get up, grab a very groggy and cranky M and head out to the potty. She does her business and I head back to tuck her into her sleeping bag alongside the other girls. Of course she would not just go back to sleep, she wanted me to sleep with her. When I tried to take her over to my tent you would have thought that I shot her dog. Needless to say, we had two six-man tents and 5 people ended up sleeping in one tent and one lucky daddy had an entire tent to himself. No, that lucky daddy was not me…
You would think that since the girls stayed up until 11:00PM or later that they might sleep in, but you would be wrong again…After such a late night and the fact that we were short on eating utensils, we decided to scrap the delicious bacon, sausage and egg breakfast that we had planned (and were soo looking forward to!) to opt for the Pop-Tart variety.
As we ate our “fresh” pastries, the daddy types sleep-packed and tore down camp while the daughter types tried to score more crack from one another. The time was about 10:00 AM when we were finally ready to hit the road home. You can probably guess our first stop. Yep, that infamous general store to score some rocks!
After a light dinner and drinks with our fellow concert goers at a local Uptown pub, we made our way down to American Airlines Center for the John Mayer show. As we parked in our traditional spot away from the arena in order to avoid paying $20 or more for parking, I started to feel nostalgic. It has been about 3 years since I let my Mavericks season tickets go and I have not been down to the arena but a handful of times since. It was like I was right there back in my comfort zone from 3 years ago. The landscape on the walk from the parking spot to the arena had changed some, but for the most part was exactly as I remembered it. As we approached the arena entrance I got a little giddy. I was not giddy for the concert per se, but just to be back in the AAC. It was going to be a good night.
As we sauntered around the concourse level looking at concert T-shirts and whatnot I took notice of the typical concert fans that we were seeing. Let me just say that the Dallas cougar was out on the prowl this night…girls ranging from teenage to their ’50s were dressed up in their favorite low-cut tops and designer jeans. It was obvious that we are in the middle of a seasonal change as the cougar’s shoe of choice ranged from knee-high leather boots to flip-flops. I must say that the sight of the flip-flop did make me wish summer days were here.
After taking the long way around and two escalators and an elevator ride, we arrived at the Platinum level of the arena. We supplied up on concert drinks and a quick bathroom pit stop and we located our seats. Our seats were good, not great and afforded a nice view of the stage. Just as we take our seats the lights go down and the crowd noise goes up in anticipation of John Mayer taking the stage (we missed the opening act due to our dinner and drinks running long so you will get no review of Michael Franti & Spearhead…I know you are crushed…)
Before I get into the music, I must first address something that was a major distraction to those in my concert party, and quite possibly many others. John Mayer has stroke mouth when he sings. Not just a little stroke mouth, or “carl mouth” (for you Caddy Shack fans out there), but it was bordering on just too much to handle. At some points, I didn’t know whether to just turn away as if I had just seen Two Girls, One Cup, or run up on stage and stuff a wallet in his mouth so that he didn’t bite his tongue off! I have attached a few examples of John’s carl mouth for your viewing pleasure, or displeasure. I have it on good authority that one of our girl friends finds these stroked out expressions to be hot. Did I mention that she has a substance abuse problem? You know who you are, and you should be ashamed! At first I was disappointed that there were no big screens broadcasting the extreme closeups that you get at a typical concert, but after seeing the disfigured expressions I determined that this was done on purpose for sake of the crowd keeping their dinner down. Of course, all of this is subjective and you cannot knock the guy too much…just look at his track record with the ladies. He is either well endowed, or the stroke is the new black and I had better get crackin’ on my own facial distortion moves. Either way, well done, sir. Well done.
All of that being said, I must say that the dude is extremely talented and can put on one hell of a show. While most of the tracks seemed to be from his most recent album, Battle Studies, there was a nice mixture of the new and old. There was even a cover of a Tom Petty great, Free Fallin’. I could go on and on about how much of a badass Mayer is on the guitar, but if you have seen him or listened to his music you already know this. If not, definitely check him out.
One of the highlights of the Dallas show was a killer drum solo by Steve Jordan was not less than amazing. The guy put down in a big way. Another highlight was when the lights go down about half way through the show as they often do between songs. When the lights come back up for the next song, Mayer is pimpin’ a Mav’s jersey, sweat bands and all. Kinda cheesy, but it got a nice reaction from the crowd.
The show was great overall and reminded me why I like John Mayer. There was one other portion of the show other than the carl mouth that made me roll my eyes. Between songs, Mayer addressed the audience with a nice little tribute to the people in the nose bleed sections. While doing this, he went on some self-indulgent rant about how the people who had bought tickets to this show had been using them to get through the bad times in their personal lives because they were fueled by the knowledge that they would soon get to see “Mayer”. He even went on to spout off about how his new calling was to be the bright spot for two hours in our lives. I may have taken it all wrong, but I just found it to be a little egocentric. Just an observation and the rant took nothing away from the great show.
A side note about the goings on after the show. The crazies were definitely out. Two of our concert party were very nearly killed by a run-away vehicle just outside the arena. Thank GOD for trees large enough to stop a vehicle!! We also saw another vehicle tear out of the arena parking against the traffic policeman’s direction and speed the wrong way up a one-way street, but the boys in blue got his ass before he had the chance to hurt anyone. This was same street that had just produced the crash that almost killed our friends. To top it all off, we are on the highway heading home and we pass a car that was fully engulfed in flames! Gotta love it!
This is my attempt at some in-depth sports reporting…or not. I am going to give you all the generic couch potato’s review on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
The opening ceremonies had not even begun and the 2010 winter games already had received a black eye. The poor Georgian luge competitor, Nodar Kumaritashvili (try saying that 10 times in a row…hell, try saying that at all) died during a training run prior to the start of the games. While this is only the 2nd luge death since the sport was introduced as an olympic event in 1964, it highlights the danger of luge. Look at the facts. Start with a tube of ice on a steep incline. Now add in some wicked turns that can put up to 5G’s on a slider. Then, throw a person on what is essentially a piece of plastic strapped to two ice skate blades and let ‘er rip…no thanks, I will stick to my innertube on a grassy hill…And you can forget about Skeleton…that is the luge, but head first…F THAT!
The beating for Canada did not end there. During the somewhat boring opening ceremonies (compared to China’s) when it came time to light the olympic flame, there was a glitch. You had Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash and a couple of other Canadian spares all standing there for at least 2 minutes with failed smile while this contraption arose from the arena floor…the problem was that not all of the contraption made it out of the floor…boom, another black eye! So before the first competition is even played the Canadians look like they have been a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson.
Luckily the Canadians would recover nicely during the two weeks of games. They ended up being the leaders in gold medals, which is nice considering the way things started. Let’s review some of the individual events and athletes…
Let’s start with the events as they occurred chronologically. As boring as the ski jumping is, it intrigues me a little because it is somewhat insane. Can you imagine sitting up there on that little bar waiting to just point your skis down a steep hill that ends in mid-air? Then you are expected to stay airborne for over 100 meters! Crazy! And I didn’t see one person crash…I would have hit then end of that ramp and just dropped like a stone only to end up as a clump of tangled limbs and ski equipment at the bottom…
Speed skating could quite possibly be the most exciting winter olympics sport. I am not talking about the long distances, but the short track stuff is great. There are constant crashes, disqualifications and just plain great athleticism. I am not knocking Anton Apolo Ohno, but should he be put up on that pedestal that the broadcasters seem to put him on? Has he won 8 olympic medals? Yes…This is a nice accomplishment, but if you look at those medals they are mostly Silver or Bronze. If we are going to idolize our athletes, let’s pick one that wins more than they lose…I’m just sayin…Bode Miller is another of those celebrated winter athletes that has a bunch of medals, but only 1 of his is gold…Another thing that bugs me about speed skating is the gay helmets that they wear. All of the other sports have stylish, modern helmets. Speed skating has what look like the old foam bicycle helmets from 1985. There is just no way to look cool in one of those, especially if you are already wearing full-body spandex…
Freestyle skiing is also an exciting event. I can only imagine the damage done to these competitor’s knees over time…It makes mine hurt just watching them hit those moguls. The jumps are the best part and the tricks get bigger and bigger with each competition. This is also where Canada managed its first gold medal in the men’s division. This was a cool story because the winner has a brother with cerebral palsy and to watch the wheel chair-bound guy root for his brother to win gold was just a nice little story.
All of the downhill skiing events are fun to watch because those people are going so fast. You don’t have to wait long for someone to wipe out and then just watch as their bodies flip and tumble and slide down the rest of the mountain with skis and goggles flying everywhere…it’s just great! It reminds me of a crash test dummy flailing around. It is also dangerous and most of those that crash do not get up on thier own…but I still giggle at each crash, I can’t help it…
How dominant is the US in snowboarding? Moreover, how dominant is Shawn White? This guy had successfully defended his gold medal title with his 1st preliminary run! He didn’t even need to take his 2nd run. Does he just cruise down the center of the half-pipe and mail it in? Hell no! He pulls the double mctwist 1260! (a future blog about the name of snowboard tricks coming soon) This is a trick that has never even been attempted in competition, let alone landed. It was greatness and so is he…other than that hair…he should use some of the millions in endorsements that he makes to get that carrot top-looking bush trimmed up. The other snowboarding badass is Seth Wescott, who repeated as the gold medalist in snowboard cross. Snowboard cross is a wild event. It is 4 boarders in a timed race that includes sharp turns and big air jumps. This event provides the crowd with huge air and lots of crashes…greatness, cause you know I like crashes.
I just can’t get into ice skating…men’s, women’s, pairs, ice dancing…they all look the same to me and I could not tell you the difference in a Lutz, loop, salchow, axel, etc…they all look like the skater jumps up and spins around and lands on one leg…I will say that the girl from Korea that won the women’s gold is a badass and the guy that won the men’s for the US is a gay ass…I will say that the bronze medal winner in women’s skating had a really sad story and she showed some intestinal fortitude to go out there and not only perform, but perform well right after her mother suddenly died. I only wish that she could have won gold, but there was not going to be anyone defeating that Korean, and there may not be for quite some time…
Kudos to the US for actually competing quite well in bobsleigh and nordic events (cross-country skiing). In the past the US has not been much of a competitor in these events and this olympics the tide was turned and the future of both events looks great for the US…even though these are both boring events to watch on tv…
A big kudos to the US hockey team. Although they fell short of winning the gold, they sure turned a lot of heads and gave the Canadians all that they could handle. Great gold medal game.
The closing ceremonies were much better than the opening ceremonies…mainly because there are not so many ceremonial things to sit through…it’s more like watching a variety show, and who doesn’t enjoy a nice variety show? I bet the male figure skaters like a good variety show…I do give the Canadians some credit for making fun of themselves and the issues with the flame lighting and the oversized beavers and moose…I thought it was funny.
All in all, I will be sad that the olympics will not be on my television tonight. I have enjoyed watching and will watch again in 4 years for sure. Now it’s back to sitcoms and all of these new shows that NBC is throwing out to try to gain some viewers back after the Leno debacle.