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That’s how I spent my Wednesday morning a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to post some pics for … well, a few days now, but slacking has gotten the better of me.

That and the Olympics, of course. And I, indeed, have managed to see badminton (mixed doubles is a wicked event!) and kayaking, along with a whole lotta other sports (mostly beach volleyball, it seems; it’s ALWAYS on).

Leading me to proclaim that handball seems to be the sorriest sport ever. I mean, you don’t need the quickness of a soccer player, yet the field is set up in a similar manner; also, you don’t need the skills of a basketball player — and the goal is, like, a hundred times bigger!

(In my next life, I will be a world-class 800-meter runner. Or maybe the 400. Something that requires stamina and speed, both of which — especially the latter — I have been sorely lacking my entire life!)

Anyhoo, I did a ride-along with the local police chief as we learned more about railroad crossing safety. I was shocked to learn, later, that the police had ticketed 20 drivers for RR violations during a four-hour or so span.

I also learned that, if the lights are a-flashin’ and you can see and “hear that train a-comin'” and an officer is within sight: You’d better wait to cross.

Just sayin’ …

Jim Edmonds takes a curtain call after hitting his second home run against the Cardinals in the Cubs’ 3-2 win in 11 innings Friday at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)

This was my favorite moment of the game. Followed closely by Jimmy’s first home run of the game and his diving catch in center field. Followed by Alfonso Soriano’s throwout of Joe Mather at home plate. Followed by the Cubs getting out Cesar Izturus on a suicide squeeze attempt. Followed by an 0-for-13 showing by Ryan Ludwick, Troy Glaus and Yadier Molina. Followed by Jeff Samardzija’s throwout of Albert Pujols attempting to steal second in the top of the 11th. Followed by Henry Blanco’s no-out, bases-loaded, game-winning  liner past short in the bottom of the 11th.

Don’t get me wrong: I actually do enjoy watching the Cardinals, and I’ll admit I root for them when they’re not playing the Cubs. And when they’re not threatening the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central. (And it’s not JUST because The Lovely is a Cards fan.)

I swore I would not get caught up in the hype of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. And then, a little over an hour ago, I flipped over to NBC from Monk and almost immediately got caught up in the Opening Ceremony.

Within minutes, I was already teary-eyed when a Chinese duo sang a song called “You and I” and performers held up big pictures of Chinese kids — and then, as the song went on, suddenly the pictures were of kids from all different nationalities and races and what-not.

And then, of course, the Parade of Nations began, so I had to see the U.S. athletes walk in while I also looked for various tennis players (Rafael Nadal was all smiles as he walked in with his fellow Spaniards, and Roger Federer appeared to be quite happy as the flag bearer for Switzerland).

I think I will try to watch as much of the Olympics as I possibly can. I’m not quite sure what’s going to be available; I know that NBC and its affiliates supposedly will be offering wall-to-wall coverage, but I really have no idea what that means. Will I be able to see anything “live” without staying up until all hours of the night/morning? Will the networks stick with a certain event, or will there be the constant jumping from one sport to another

Did you ever dream of being an Olympic athlete? I can’t say that I did. I used to think about how cool it would be to play at Wimbledon, but I’m pretty sure I never considered the idea of winning Wimbledon. For the longest time, tennis wasn’t even an Olympic sport.

Oddly enough, the Olympic sport that somehow has always appealed to me is skiing — something I’ve never actually done! I once attempted to (water) ski, and I know people who have actually gone (snow) skiing on various occasions, but I’ve never tried it myself; in fact, I can’t say I’ve ever really wanted to do it … aside from the time we went to visit Karl and Sherry in Reno and drove up to Tahoe, and I found myself thinking, You know, skiing looks like it might be really, really fun!

I’ve also thought cross-country skiing looks like it would be a great way to get in shape AND move slowly enough (??) that I could actually take my camera with me and shoot various stuff along the way.

Then reality sneaks in:

  1. I can’t stand to be outside in the cold for only a few minutes at a time. And, I’m sorry, but no amount of clothing — no matter how perfectly layered — could keep me warm enough.
  2. Skiing — especially cross-country skiing — would have to be a ton of work!

Anyhoo, I doubt there’s going to be any skiing going on at this year’s Olympics.  I think I’ll try to see some tennis, gymnastics and diving; I’d love to see badminton and kayaking (I got interested in that event following the great Chattooga River* whitewater rafting trip during the 1990s), too, but no doubt those sports will be difficult to find, even if I put forth a supreme effort.

Still, I’m gonna give it a try. Let the Games begin!

* — Also the site of the filming of Deliverance, the scariest movie I’ve ever seen!

August 2008
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