By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
Now that the Rio Olympics are behind us, I think this is a perfect moment to take stock of many of the brilliant performances, as well as how the entire Olympic movement can play a part in our own daily lives.
It just seems to me that with every gold medal, with every stunning finish, with every amazing physical achievement we all witnessed in Rio, there are also times when all of us who aren’t Olympically inclined can celebrate accomplishments of our own, with or without the medals hanging around our necks.
Take Michael Phelps as an example. I’m as astounded as anyone that he pulled in another five gold medals to go along with the 18 gold medals he’s already won. Was that feat, as impressive as it was, really that more amazing than the five times I had to go back to Home Depot because I kept getting the wrong tub spout to replace in my kid’s bathtub?
How, you ask, could that be as big an accomplishment as Michael Phelp’s swimming?
Well, did Michael Phelps stub his toe while trying to unscrew the old tub spout? Did Michael Phelps have to endure the puzzled stares of the Home Depot folks wondering why I kept buying a new tub spout and coming back half an hour later to return that same spout for another? Did Michael Phelps have to indignantly shout, “We don’t need Dave! I can fix this thing!” when my wife said they should ask his extremely handy neighbor Dave to fix the tub instead?
I don’t think so! If the next Olympics ever has a “Persistence in Home Improvement Competition,” I’d better start lining up sponsorships now.
Then there’s the basketball competition.
Now, I’m not saying that the U.S. Men’s Basketball team winning their third gold medal in a row isn’t impressive, because it is. Having said that, this is a game that was created in the United States and played by guys who are all extremely tall and who already make millions of dollars playing the game professionally here at home.
If those are the rules for starting up an Olympic sport, I’d like to start a campaign to create an Olympic event called, “Spotting the gopher before it tears up your wife’s prized petunias using a hose and a pair of binoculars.” Show me that on an Olympic program and I’ll show you a gold medal winner right then and there.
And for those of you who think that my gopher spotting or home repair competitions don’t make any sense, let me remind you of the following REAL Olympic sport — the biathlon. This is a sport in the winter Olympics where athletes ski for long distances and then stop to shoot at a target. If they miss the target, they have to ski a penalty loop before they can shoot again. Much like going back to Home Depot for buying the wrong spout, wouldn’t you say?
Anyways, why would you combine cross country skiing and rifle shooting in the first place? I mean, if that makes sense, why don’t we have an Olympic competition called “The Javelin Hop,” where you first throw a javelin and then play a quick game of hopscotch? Or how about “The Volleyball Dig,” where players play a quick sand volleyball match and then pick up shovels to dig for clams?
My “Tub Spout Replacement” competition doesn’t seem so weird now, does it?
Congratulations to all the Olympians. You’ve earned your glory. But if they ever add more events to the competition, I’ve got my hose and binoculars ready and rarin’ to go.
Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.