Not the women’s 1500, although that’s clearly missing and anyone who thinks women can’t handle endurance events is clearly off his rocker. (Not saying I could do it, but there are women who can. And they should be allowed to do it in the Olympics.)
No. I am (of course) referring to synchronized swimming.
Now before you get all futzed at me, I know there is an event called “synchronized swimming.” And I know it is crazy difficult and highly competitive and it’s beautiful to watch even if Esther Williams isn’t participating. But – let’s be honest here – it’s water ballet, not swimming.
I’m not downgrading the sport we currently call synchronized swimming. I just think we should rename it and add an event called sychro-swim.
Each delegation will enter two swimmers who must—simultaneously and in unison—complete two laps of the pool. Entering and existing the water will be included in the judging.
Synchro-swim will be scored using a very technical and difficult algorithm (the better to give commentators something to comment on and delegations something to protest, thereby ensuring that we capture the true Olympic spirit). The event will be scored 50% on speed and 50% on synchronicity and 10% on how good breakfast was. Subjective scoring will be done using a binomial theorem and a base 9 metric incorporating the median variation and hippopotamus.
No idea what that means either, but the commentators will have a field day.
But Rio has some issues Russia never even thought of.
Like the Zika virus.
So far several athletes (and by “several athletes” I mean several athletes that you’ve heard of) have decided not to attend the Olympics.
Interestingly, they are all male and none of them are pregnant. (Rory McIlryoy, Tejay van Garderern, and Greg Rutherford are the athletes in question. OK, maybe you haven’t heard of them. You’re not likely to hear about them any time soon because they won’t be winning in Rio since they won’t be there.)
Brazilian officials are responding by saying the athletes in question are just big babies and teaching mosquitoes a synchronized dance for the opening ceremonies.
The other big scandal (in case you haven’t been keeping up with these things) is that the Rio de Janeiro anti-doping lab has been suspended for “wrongly interpreting” test results. Meaning they “oopsed” a few times too many and “produced false positives.”
This of course led to a whole lot of he said/they said and tastes-great-less-filling controversies which are never good for smooth Olympics. It is unclear if the lab will be, um, fixed in time for the games which are—wait for it—only 6 weeks away.
Bottom line? Who the heck knows, but it will be interesting.
I was (of course) there to see my favorite future athletic trainer work the game.
I particularly wanted to see something spectacularly colorful but ultimately insignificant happen so that I’d know the Kid was learning something. (This led to my friend saying, “Enjoy the rugby game. I hope someone gets hurt.”)
I don’t know why, but that reminds me of this:
It was snowing, windy, and about 28 degrees, so I was quite happy to find a parking space right near the end of the field from whence I could watch the game in relative comfort.
I may have witnessed the least injury-filled rugby game in the history of rugby.
No one understands rugby because it was (we think) invented in England where they have a history of creating sports no one understands (looking at you, Cricket). We know that rugby can be played with either 7 players on a side or 15 players on a side (although typically not at the same time) and that the traditional striped rugby shirt was very popular in the 70s. A game without mud is considered a failure and a game without injuries is considered unsporting. A game without alcohol immediately afterward is nonexistent.
Oh sure, there was mud. And yelling. And several dudes getting up from the bottoms of various piles looking a bit dazed. And Our Boyswon, so yay.
But there weren’t any interesting injuries. There weren’t even any uninteresting injuries. The highly developed medical assistance skills waiting on the side in of the field in the cold were not called upon.
Until about 5 minutes before the end of the game when one of the other team’s players went down with a splat and didn’t immediately bounce back up. (Fact: Rugby players may be big, but they are very Tigger-like in their bouncability.) After another moment or two, I thought “Oh good. I’ll see the Kid in action.”
Just as I thought that, the player got to his feet and lumbered off the field, and I thought, “Oh good. I’ll see the Kid in action on the sidelines.”
Do you know what an injured ruby player does? He does not head over to the athletic trainer’s table for assistance, oh no. He decides to walk it off. When that fails, he sits down. When that doesn’t help any more than the walking, he shrugs, gets up, takes his rugby shoes to the car, turns to his cell phone, and begins to take selfies.
When the athletic trainer (aka the Kid) brings him a Helpful Bag of Ice, do you know what he does? He takes the bag politely, thanks the Kid, places the ice bag on his injured knee (while standing) for 1.387 seconds, then stands there holding it (not anywhere near the injury) cheering on his team to defeat, all the while thinking that it will be much easier to deal with the pain (and the defeat) as soon as he’s drunk. (Probably also hoping that the team will finish quickly so he can begin that medical journey as soon as possible.)
So that’s what I saw. The Kid delivering ice. But very well-qualified and well-bagged ice.
Note:Turns out there was also a pretty significant nosebleed that required nose plugs, but I didn’t know about that until much later.
This should not particularly surprise you, since we are in the middle of March Madness (and by “middle” I mean the early days) which means everyone and their brother is talking about brackets and basketball and how to skip out of work in order to watch Important Sporting Events.
It will (probably) not surprise you that I’m not trying to skip out of work since I can barely figure out how to follow basketball. (It helps when Dad yells, “Look right there! Right There! He grabbed his arm! He definitely grabbed his arm!! That’s a foul! You have to call that!” and then they show the alleged foul in ultra slow motion. Fourteen times.)
I have been thinking about college sports in terms of (wait for it) academics.
Yes, I said it. Sports and academics. In the same sentence. I’ll write quickly so I can finish this before the fan police arrest me.
I sort of understand that some sports can be played around an academic schedule. Like crew (I still haven’t figured out if one actually “plays” crew, but go with it for a moment). When you were rowing, you went to class (presumably), did homework (presumably), worked out with the team (for sure), and studied (presumably). (NOTE: I assume these things because I was not there to see you do them and you didn’t really talk about your academics that year. Also, you didn’t get kicked out which was a good hint that you were busy learning something.)
I assume that even some sports with more, um, political and alumni pressure can be played while continuing with one’s academic pursuits.
What I’m confused about (at this particular moment) is how one breathes the rarified air of playing basketball during March Madness and manages to attend class, do homework, and study subjects other than the next team on the schedule. The travel alone makes it seem daunting if not impossible.
So how is it that these athletes stay academically eligible? I can only assume some magic, a bit of time travel, and some exceptional tutors. If it’s anything else, I’m not sure I want to know…