Tag Archives: Olympics

Thoughts on the London Olympics Opening Ceremony


The Olympics always bring memories to me. The earliest one I can remember was the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games. Papa Wham and I actually watched the “Miracle On Ice” when our ragtag group of amateur hockey players defeated the mighty Soviet juggernaut and for a minute, yes, we all DID believe in miracles. I also have distinct memories of Sarajevo ’84 and looking back at how beautiful the city was then it’s hard for me to imagine how devastated it would be fifteen years later.

I remember Mary-Lou Retton capturing all our hearts. I also remember little Kari Scruggs bravely vaulting on her broken foot to assure the gold medal for the women’s team. I watched Kurt Angle when he was a “real” wrestler; that gold medal he wears to the ring is real, you know. I saw the unbelievable happen as Roulon Gardner beat the unbeatable Alexander “The Experiment” Karelin to win wrestling gold.

In short, I really love the Olympics and getting to watch the opening ceremonies last night with Budge and the other half of our family at Deuce and Cam’s house was about as good as it gets. Long before the parade of nations ended, I thought about blogging what I felt, so here, in no certain order, are my musings on the XXX Olympiad’s opening pageant.

  • I quickly got sick of hearing how “No one could possibly top the scope and spectacle of Beijing.” Danny Boyle can stand proudly because this opening was every bit as spectacular and beautiful as ’08 AND he accomplished his vision all while dealing with labor unions AND volunteers who really were volunteers, not conscripted peasants worrying about getting shot if they messed up.
  • Was I the only one who — whenever anyone mentioned Danny Boyle’s name — kept wanting to belt out “The pipes, the pipes, are calling?”
  • Brazil does not produce ugly women. No female rating less than a 9 on the International Hottie Scale was walking in their entourage. I’m convinced the place is like ancient Sparta only instead of the elder warriors, a group of gorgeous supermodels are on call at the hospitals to inspect each newborn girl for completely overboard hottness and any who don’t measure up are sent to Puerto Rico.
  • Staying with the hottness theme, I don’t have a homosexual bone in my body, but Daniel “007” Craig is one fine, fine looking hunk of manhood.
  • Why does every other country’s costume show something to do with their culture or heritage or the way the world views them while OUR made in China United States costumes look a lot like military uniforms, right down to the fatigue pants and bere- . . . oh, I get it.
  • His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh looks extremely fit and well for approaching 92.
  • Speaking of the Royals, I think it was right sporting of Queen Elizabeth to go along with the festivities and allow an effigy of Her Royal Highness to skydive behind Mr. Bond into the stadium. Also, she’s not much for long speeches is she? “I now pronounce the Games of the XXX Olympiad open.” Sits. Poker face.
  • Those poor people banging on all those drums have GOT to have sore arms this morning.
  • I hope everyone sitting at home poking fun at the tiny delegations of countries like Burkina Faso and Tonga realized at some point those folks were IN THE OLYMPICS while they — armchair critics they are — never will be.
  • Anyone else wonder how many people soiled themselves when all the pyrotechnics blew up near the end? Worst part was just about the time you got your sphincter back on the chain, the bloody things went off again!
  • Whoever designed the Olympic Flame Cauldron needs to be knighted or raised to the peerage or something. That is the most beautiful flame holder in any Olympics I’ve ever seen. I just wondered how many times some guy was running around in the dark making sure all the “petals” were placed and attached correctly.
  • Anyone else think it was kind of Matt Lauer and company to cover Sir Paul’s quavering opening bars of “Hey, Jude” as being “choked up?” Paul isn’t a bass or a baritone and as anyone who heard Pavarotti or Domingo sing late in their careers knows higher pitched male voices don’t weather age as well as the lower registers. Still, “Hey, Jude” sung and played by the man who wrote it isn’t a sight to be missed. I hope Ringo was at the show and somewhere John and George were smiling.
  • Those youngsters need to brush up on their “na, na, na, NA, NA, NAAA . . . NA, NA, NAAAAA, Hey Judes!!” Sing it like you mean it kids and while you’re at it, learn if you’re a guy or a girl and sing at the right time!!
  • I’ve got to get some music by The Arctic Monkeys. That “Come Together” cover rocked.
  • BTW, where the crap was Sir Elton John? WTH?
  • Why can’t we Americans act like we’ve been somewhere before and walk in gracefully waving instead of lampooning around and snapping pictures non-stop on our cell phones? Really, people?! You’re in front of the Queen AT THE OLYMPICS for pete’s sake, show some respect.
  • How is it one of the probably four white girls in all of Zimbabwe has won 7 of the 8 medals in the country’s history? I may be wrong, but I’m betting she’s an immigrant or, worse, a colonial left over.
  • Why did so many of the countries have a taekwondo fighter, a judoist, or a shooting sports participant as their flag bearers? Were they afraid someone was going to run out and take the Armenian flag or something?
  • Speaking of the flags, Glastonbury Tor — the little green hill with all the flags on it? It’s a real place. Google it.
  • Finally, was it just me, or did anyone else hope the whole time the steel workers were “forging the ring” someone would pull a master prank and project a huge red eye on top of one of the smokestacks while hacking the sound system to boom out “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them …” After all, J.R.R. Tolkien was about as British as they come even if he was born in South Africa.

Enjoy the Olympics everyone! They really are one of the few times the best things about this crazy world actually come to the front and displace all the violence and sadness we see in the news every day.

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

Sport of the Gods


Volleyball is for girls. Football is for boys. Wrestling is for MEN!

At least that’s the way we always phrased it back on the mats when I was a wrestler. Please, before I go any farther, do not confuse nor make the tired joke about wrasslin’. NOTHING annoys a real wrestler more than the question, “Where’s the ropes?”

Tonight was the first Monday night after Thanksgiving and ever since I was a freshman in high school, that has meant the first match of the wrestling season. Ever since late September, wrestlers all over the country have been counting calories and donning sweat suits to get down to whatever magical weight they want to compete at for the coming season. Tonight, they got to step on the mat and see if their hard work has paid off.

I don’t miss much in my life as much as I miss wrestling. I was a varsity wrestler for my high school for three years and I had the pleasure of coaching as both an assistant and a head coach for nearly ten years. No other sport comes close. Wrestling was on the agenda at the first Olympics and the basic equipment hasn’t changed much . . . except we don’t wrestle naked anymore — although the first time you ever put on a Spandex singlet and step out in front of a crowd of people, you may FEEL naked.

Everything great and wonderful about my high school years revolved around wrestling. I went out for the team as a freshman in the hopes of catching the eye and impressing a girl named Kim whose brother was on the team. I was the only heavyweight that year so I started every match . . . and LOST every match except the lone forfeit I got because the opposing wrestler tripped getting off the team bus and got a concussion. Needless to say, I didn’t get the girl, even though she was impressed that I didn’t quit. At the awards banquet that year, I received the Silver Flounder Award for being the biggest fish on the team.

I dropped weight and wrestled great my sophomore and junior years. I even placed second in our region my junior year. I was one match away from qualifying for the state tournament when I came down with stomach flu. That was the end of that year. My senior year was a disaster. I was already having a REALLY BAD year and the first day of practice, I found out the weight classes had changed. My coveted 167 was gone. I was now in the same class with two monsters who I never could hope to beat. They tried to kill each other and the loser dropped down to the next lowest division.

I was odd man out. I was a senior with three bars and twenty-two pins on my letterman jacket and I was relegated to the bench. It was at that point that I gave up on my entire senior year and the wheels well and truly fell off the apple cart, but that is a story for another time.

So, men, gird up your loins, put your foot on the stripe inside the circle and wait for the whistle.

When you finish, roll up the mats . . . and wash your feet! Love y’all.