Monday, August 11, 2008

Watching the Olympics

Without a job, I have lots of time to waste. Lately, I’ve been spending it watching the Olympics, especially the swimming. I saw the Men’s 4x100 freestyle relay, when Phelps won his second gold medal and got on track to win the most Olympic Golds. I watched when Natalie Coughlin set a new world record and defended the gold she won in Athens in the 100 meter backstroke. I also watched when Peirsol started out slow on the 100 meter backstroke, but ended up breaking a world record to win the Gold.

I admit, before the Olympic games I knew few other Olympic contenders other than Phelps—but lately I’ve been addicted to the swimming. I’d like to think it’s because I used to be on my high school’s swim team, but that extracurricular lasted only a year and I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t that good. I had my highpoints; at the beginning of the season I swam the 50 meter freestyle in 37 seconds (horrible!), but by the end of the season, I was down to 27 seconds. I received the “most improved” award for that but the award seems to be small kudos in the scheme of things—particularly when watching the Olympics, hearing how Phelps trains for five hours a day, not just in the pool but with weights and other aerobic activities.

Sure, with no job, I’ve been working out more than I have in years, but I doubt that counteracts how often I’m sitting on the couch and behind the computer. And, sure, the Olympics sometimes inspire me to get into the gym more than for an hour. But these are Olympians I’m watching, people who have been training for years. I’ve rarely stuck with anything, other than writing, beyond a couple years. If anything, the Olympics seem to remind me of what I have not accomplished or finished—why didn’t I stick with swimming?

I could sit and dwell on this question I suppose. Or I could focus on what I have accomplished—ahem, like grad school and writing a novel in ten months. (Where’s the award for that?)

In the meantime, instead of dwelling, perhaps I should just watch Olympic events other than swimming.

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