The Agony of a Stranger’s Defeat

I leave for vacation in less than 8 hours. I’m flying to St. Louis to see my little sister and on the agenda is a roller derby bout, eating my weight in BBQ, and watching the Olympics.

I agree, Super Fan. We are #1.

My sister and I have a complicated relationship with the Olympic Games. In that, we watch them. And cry. During the 2004 Olympics, we both wept as a Hamm brother won an All-Around Gymnastics title. See, I don’t even remember which Hamm brother. Just that it made me feel, and feel deeply.

Full disclosure: sports generally make me an emotional wreck. Rage, awe, and, apparently, sympathetic sadness/joy. Outside of telling non-fanatics that watching humans perform heroic feats of strength is an excellent way to spend 12 straight hours, I don’t have a very intelligent reason why sports reach me at my core.

Except for this: is there anything more dramatic than watching people, many of whom devote every waking moment of their lives to an event that sometimes last 2 minutes, succeed or fail in front of the world? I’ll give you the long and short answer. No, there is nothing more dramatic.

Case in point: sometimes a fencer doesn’t know when to leave the stage.

So enjoy your weekend, folks. If you’re anything like me, my sister, and this gymnast’s mom, you’re going to need some Kleenex. Or Xanax.




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