By ROSS BISHOFF
A conversation with my son about the Winter Olympics brought something into focus for me: I have no idea what these athletes are doing.
“Seriously,” he said, “this is a sport? What is this?”
It was cross-country skiing, the 15K women’s race. This is what we were watching on a Saturday night, in between professional wrestling and a re-run on Comedy Central.
“This is what they do in the Winter Olympics,” I said, “heck, most people in these countries, this is how they travel.”
“So,” he replied, “they don’t have cars?”
I really don’t know, maybe, maybe not. I’m guessing people in Sweden and the Netherlands have cars, but after two months of awful winter, I’m thinking it might be easier to throw on skis and slide into work rather than slide into work in my Honda.
The point is, I have no hands-on understanding of the sports in the Winter Olympics and really never have.
But I grew up watching them and have always really gotten into the Winter Olympics. And it makes no rational sense as to why I’m this way. I mean, the Summer Games? Sure. I ran, played baseball, basketball, wrestled, I get swimming and virtually all of those sports, so I can relate on a very small level to what’s going on out there.
But figure skating? And curling or, God help me, skiing? I have never even tried most of these sports. Sure, we sled down hills as kids in the week or two there was snow on the ground in central Ohio, but I have no idea what is going on in the luge.
Also? I hate the cold and the snow, with a passion.
Also-also? When I was growing up watching the Winter Olympics with my dad, the U.S. was never all that great. We’d win like 16 metals as a nation. Between Russia, Sweden, the Dutch and Finland, America struggled. We might have a figure skater and skier and a surprise athlete pop up, but we weren’t feared by any stretch.
So… I really shouldn’t be a fan of the Winter Olympics, right?
Or maybe it’s directly related to the novelty of all these sports—from the biathlon to the bobsled to snowboarding and on down the line—are so alien to me that I become mesmerized by what these athletes can do. And maybe because I’ve seen the U.S. go from very few metals to one of the top countries, that’s grown my interest.
Also, I mean, discovering the mesmerizing sport of 2 a.m. curling was honestly a game-changer. And it could be for you too, who knows?
I still haven’t found the right Winter Games sport to get the rest of the Bishoff house excited but give me time. After all, a good snowboarding flip-spin-land can do wonders for a person’s enthusiasm.
At least that’s my running theory.
Numbers of the Week: 26, 5, 2, 4
Lima Senior High School inducted 26 athletes, five coaches, two state championship teams and four contributors to its athletic program at the school’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet this past weekend.
Quote of the Week: “I have to give credit to every guy who has ever played for me.”
– Miller City boys basketball coach Bryan Kuhlman, who won his 100th career game as a coach Friday in a win over Kalida.