I love the Olympics, don’t you? No matter which Games — summer or winter – for 16 days every four years in the summer and 16 days every four years in the winter, Americans are transfixed by the spectacle of the Olympics. We all pause throughout our hectic days to check the medal count for Team U.S.A. It’s a time of national pride as you find yourself standing in a railway station, bar, lobby, elevator — anywhere that has a TV or computer screen with up-to-the-minute news — and you hear the “fans go wild” cheer in your head: “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!” Or, if you’re like me, it’s not in your head but an audible, U.S.A.!! U.S.A.!! U.S.A.!!
And some of us get so swept away by Olympic fever that the line becomes blurred between reality and fantasy.
Looking in the bathroom mirror as I’m getting ready for work, Matt Lauer’s voice talking to me from the TV in the other room, I have the occasional “moment” — with my toothbrush sticking out of my mouth, I do the double-fist pump over my head as I imagine what it would feel like to stand on the top step of the podium, a gold medal slung around my neck, the Star Spangled Banner playing in my honor as the American flag is raised in celebration of my great achievement. An American Hero. The future face on the Wheaties box. Whoooooooooooooohhhhh! The fans go wild.
My moment of glory is interrupted when the old man walks in, stares at me and says, “Get a grip.” He’s right. It’s true. Approaching fifty, uhm, I’m unlikely to medal in anything. Well, not anything that is a sanctioned Olympic sport. In 1989 the IOC ruled that host countries could have demonstration sports. I think that was how things like curling and rhythmic gymnastics snuck into the Games. Sorry, Matt, but you’re looking as ridiculous as the sport>>>>>>>>>>> Then in 1992 the IOC reversed itself. I kind of think it was the rhythmic gymnastics, but that’s just me. Anyway, when I am appointed to the IOC (nominations anyone?), I would lobby heavily for the return of demonstration sports.
On the off chance I am successful in my bid to have demonstration sports return, I have a few suggestions of my own that would see serious competitors emerge in the court reporting industry.
- The Bladder Buster. A competition to see how long a court reporter can “hold it” after alerting counsel that “it’s time,” to which he responds, “can you wait a few minutes?” Thirty minutes later. . .
- The Blood Sugar Dash. A competition to see how long a court reporter can go without nourishment.
- The Halucination Freefall. A competition to find out just how long a court reporter can freefall without sleep (or a net) before collapsing.
- The Statue Game. A competition in which the reporter sits in a fixed position without moving (other than her hands on her steno machine keys) for hours. The goal is to see how long s/he can do that before all her/his joints become immobile.
Like Phelps, I have bragging rights! I have medaled in all four of these categories multiple times. Also like Phelps proved in this morning’s 400 IM qualifier, the older we get, the harder it is to medal.
To my reporting peers: Over the next 16 days, feel free to send in your “medal” moments!