I’ve decided to start doing the Weekly Writing Challenge to ensure I actually, you know, write when not completely brain dead. This week, this first week, I actually almost ended up admitting defeat (though it may be too late anyways?) before I had even started but then something hit me: if I gave up so quickly, McKayla Maroney would definitely not be impressed.
In my family, the Olympics has always been something of a non-issue; I very much have the kind of parents who bemoan how much attention we, as a society — as an entire species, really — pay to athletes, all the while ignoring art and those who make it — and let’s not even get started on how the literature our culture pays attention to is very often stuff like 50 Shades of Grey. I’d rather not hear about anyone’s maleness today, thank you.
While I don’t share my parents disdain for sporting events, I also make no effort to ever watch them (except perhaps the Super Bowl, otherwise known as “Drinking While Watching Cool Commercials and Eating Chicken Wings”). What I do learn about the Olympics and other sporting events are sparse, trickling snippets through the grapevine, such as, “Michael Phelps is amazing! I hear he eats 6000 calories a day! Do you know how much Subway that is?!”
Then this year came.
For the first time, I was getting daily updates on the results of the Olympics thanks to this little site that has taken over my life called Facebook: good friends talked about how much they loved/hated the opening ceremony; people I hadn’t spoken to in ages were discussing the amazing feats they’d seen earlier that evening; Budweiser, which I don’t even Like, was telling me to buy their product so that I could celebrate all the gold medals America had taken so far; and, of course, the scowling pictures of both Queen Elizabeth and McKayla Marony were staring me in the face on a daily basis.
This year I have heard more about the Olympics than any other year — maybe more than I’ve heard about all the previous Games combined — but, as is the nature of social media, it’s coming to me in bite-sized morsels. Instead of hearing about the entirety of the closing ceremony, Buzzfeed told me about the “25 Most Absurd Moments“, and instead of seeing what led up to McKayla being unimpressed, I’m seeing her face plastered on my feed in pictures like this:
The prevalence of Social Media has made the Olympics a bigger part of my life than it had ever been before, but it was the Cliffs Notes version of this grand event, with enough information I could spout a fact or two but not enough for me to claim I was a part of this experience. It’s like the juiciest victuals had been gathered on a platter with toothpicks in them, just enough to whet my appetite by hardly enough to sate it. In short, by reading the Olympic headlines, I had found myself mired in the murky middle of this event, far from detached from the results yet not even involved enough to call myself a spectator. Being caught in Olympic Limbo was something new, and, while not awful, wasn’t quite as enjoyable as being wholly vested or disinterested.
Maybe next time I’ll actually have to watch them.