Going for Gold

I start every Olympic season a little above it all. Why would I watch the opening ceremonies when I have a whole DVD of Psych re-runs just begging to to be watched? Are we all going to sit around and pretend that watching archery on a 40 inch screen is actually interesting? And is everyone really talking about how amazing it is that the whole world has come together in a spirit of healthy competition? Healthy? A number of athletes are trained from toddlerhood with methods that would have the CPS carting them away from parents and trainers for good in the U.S. I am sorry, I sniff, but I have a difficult time cheering on something that glorifies the results of childhood abuse.

And then.

I sit down and actually watch the darn thing. And I am swept away in the grand scope of each person's dream. I cheer for the underdog, the sure thing and every competitor in between. Margaret and I watch the gymnastics and ooooh and ahhhhh. Riley and I immersed ourselves in every swim match, my finger nails digging into his arm BECAUSE OH MY GOODNESS IS SHE GOING TO MAKE IT? We watch every single night. And I cry to the point of dehydration every.single.night. I weep at the end of every AT&T Rethink Possible commercial, sniffle my way through the medal ceremonies and bawl like a baby every time they show a nervous mama in the stands.

It is exhausting.

Yesterday, we watched the last two minutes of the pole vault. Lots of leaping into the air and falling short. A nervous American, Jenn Suhr, paced back and forth watching each vaulter miss their mark. The commentator informed me that she was on the verge of the gold medal she had been chasing for her decade long career. Well isn't that nice, I thought. I hope she gets it. And then the last vaulter flew into the air and knocked the bar down (which is apparently not the point of pole vaulting). The commentator started shouting, the crowd cheered louder, Jenn Suhr had won her gold. And she wasn't smiling. She wasn't waving. She was walking, quickly, away from all the cameras and well wishers and hugs. She walked across the stadium and waited at the base of the stands while her husband climbed over hundreds of people to get to her. Her face showed no emotion until he touched her and then she fell into his arms sobbing. He wrapped an American flag around her shoulders and held her close. My goodness. To achieve your greatest dream in front of the world and still seek the arms of just one. Beautiful.

I cried until I hiccuped and then I cried some more. And then the P&G mom commercial came on and things really started to get ugly.

Who's above it all now?

Not me.