Sunday, February 28, 2010

Au revoir, Winter Olympics!

For the last sixteen days I've been glued to my television set and watching the Winter Olympics. I hate to see them go, but when I saw William Shatner talking about having sex in a canoe, I knew it was really over.

Closing ceremonies aside, there has been plenty of entertainment during this year's Olympics. Every day since they began, I have come home from work, turned on the TV, finished up some work on the computer, and had the Olympics on for the rest of the evening. It's been wonderful! Some events I watched with great excitement (hockey) some I just watched passively (figure skating) and some I watched reluctantly (curling.) But the Olympics and I have been together throughout and I'm really going to miss having a constant competition to watch.

I don't know when I became such a sports fan. I think it was when I moved to Washington, DC. When I lived in Iowa, I was a C-Span junkie and constantly watched that network or the news. I have always been a hockey fanatic, but I think that when I moved to DC and surrounded by C-Span all day at work and living inside the beltway, my attention turned to sports to escape the total immersion in the political climate. I was ready to cancel my cable television until I found out I could add a sports package for $5 a month. I wanted to reach into the phone and hug the representative from the cable company when she signed me up.

Now I have traded watching C-Span in Iowa for watching ESPN, VS and the NHL Network in Washington. I actually blame it on the fact that there is not much entertainment on television anymore. Whatever the reason for my attention toward sporting events, I have really enjoyed the Olympics this year and I am really hoping that I will be able to watch some of the Winter Paralympic Games. The opening ceremonies will begin on March 12th in Vancouver at 9:00 p.m. I have never paid much attention to the Paralympic games, but after watching Murderball a few months ago and currently reading Mark Zupan's biography, I have a new-found interest in the competition. If I can go from being half asleep to jumping out of my bed in excitement at watching Latvia tie up a game against the Czech Republic, I can surely cheer enthusiastically for Team USA in Sledge Hockey.

It's all the spirit of competition, and that's what makes the Olympic games great. The athletes compete so hard and so passionately, and it's inspiring to watch someone compete when it clearly means so much to them. The Paralympic games will be no different. I actually anticipate they will be even more so. It is unfortunate that I've had to go to such great lengths to find out if the events will be televised. It is also unfortunate that when I mention the Paralympics to others, they often get them confused with the Special Olympics. It is a very different type of competition. If you are reading this and you do not know the difference, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the Paralympics do not get much media coverage. Televising the events would do a lot to show the perseverance of people with physical disabilities. One paralympic athlete was named to the Canadian Olympic team although in the end he did not have a chance to compete.

In my quest to find out if I will be able to watch the Paralympics after all, I did find a petition online to protest the decision not to work out a deal with NBC for the Paralympic games. I urge you to learn more about the games, and watch online as I will be doing and cheering once again for Team USA: