So the Olympic Games are around the corner, and despite already meeting its scandal quota before the opening ceremony, Rio2016 will hopefully still be a fun event.
Arguably the best thing about the Olympic Games is being exposed to sports we have no knowledge of, watch only once every four years, or simply don’t care about in any real way… and still being interested in how the drama unfolds.
After all, everyone on Earth watches the 100m Sprint Finals. The floor gymnastics, basketball, soccer and swimming have no problems drawing our attention. And for some bizarre reason women’s beach volleyball is intensely popular.
Made all the more bizarre by the fact that Val Kilmer isn’t even involved…
But what about the less-well-known Olympic events that still have us glued to the TV?
The coccyx, pinky toes, ear muscles, the appendix, wisdom teeth and the Commonwealth Games. What do all these things have in common?
A lot is said in the Olympics after a great sporting triumph – generally the joy, jubilation and satisfaction that comes after four years of sacrifice and hard work. But what about those who had to wait even longer – whose sporting triumphs are measured not only by their feats but also when you consider their unbelievable persistence, diligence and patience in the face of adversity? The James Magnussens of the world compete with an expectation of success. Thankfully there are athletes who simply do the best they can and compete fully aware of the privilege and honour that comes with being able to represent your country on the biggest stage. No more, no less.
Warning: expecting success generally leads to this
During my University days I had a job lifeguarding at a large swim centre in Melbourne. I’d arrive at the ungodly hour of 5:30am and watch through bleary eyes as the local swim squad did laps for a few hours before they headed off to school. The fact that I was charged with their wellbeing was kind of funny, because I’m a mediocre swimmer. However, it is surprisingly easy to qualify as a pool lifeguard, and it pays well, so I wasn’t about to complain.
It also gave me a chance to yell at little kids and make them cry, so it was win-win-win!