how i singlehandedly destroyed the olympics.

31 Jul

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains information about world news. If you are not prepared to be exposed to current events, DO NOT READ ON. I repeat, STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE WORLD AT THIS TIME. If you have the desire to know what’s going on but don’t want it to be by means of my shitty little blog, kindly visit CNN or TMZ or NBC or ask your mom and then come back and enjoy the loveliness that is this passage.


So today rolled around and I was so so so excited to watch the Women’s All-around Gymnastics that I woke up and put my hair in a bun with those little metallic clips that the Romanians have been sporting since like way before I can even remember and I popped my babygirl into her teeny tiny leotard, only to discover that like so many other Olympic events, NBC made the decision to delay televising the meet to prime time. Just like during the qualifying round on Monday, it meant that I would have to stream the meet on my computer. Which was honestly fine with me because I don’t have a TV in my office (I know, seriously ghetto) and I had some shit to do so it was really an effective way to multitask. If you happen to have heard the word on the Gymnastics street, the US team is sort of completely awesome (check #fabfive on Twitter if you don’t believe me) and they are by far and away the team to beat. So they went out and they won. Because that’s what they came to London to do. So they did it. And I was a happy, giggly girl. Naturally, I expressed this happiness the way pretty much everyone on earth (except my husband and one of my friend’s husbands and my 2-year-old) does, and I made it my status on Facebook.

USA just won gold for women’s gymnastics all around. Why the hell isn’t this being broadcasted live??

I honestly thought that it would make people feel excited and proud and patriotic and nostalgic (I mean, we were all little girls once, weren’t we? We all grew up wishing we could fly and feeling it in our throats when the gymnasts stuck those landings and thew their arms in the air like the greatest of all heroes. Well if you didn’t, I sure did. And so did my mom when she was little. And now I have a babygirl who points to the TV and shouts “BEAM!” so do you get why I was excited?). Apparently the first thing on some of my virtual friends’ minds were quite the opposite of what I intended to evoke.

Within moments, my phone LITERALLY EXPLODED. LITERALLY. Like fireworks.

“You just ruined my night!”

“Spoiler alert!”

“Well I guess I won’t watch it later!”

Or my personal favorite, from an old commuting buddy of mine, “MANY people like myself who can not watch live online are trying to stay away from results so we can watch tonight and feel the excitement and get the suprise… sooooo you should have put “Spoiler Alert” before your message”

Tell me, old commuting buddy, and please be honest, had I written “spoiler alert,” would you truly not have continued reading? Why is it NBC’s decision when I can celebrate an amazing accomplishment by these talented and flexible freaks? Why can’t it be my decision to acknowledge a truly great moment in sports when it actually occurs? I believe that social media has given us tremendous accessibility to things as they happen. Why has NBC created an exemption to this rule for a 2 week window? If something happens of significance during any non-Olympic window, networks race to be the first to break the story. But NBC needs to pick up those advertising dollars during prime time, so somehow they’ve managed to create some sort of “Bachelor”-esque suspense and try to not break the news.

And somehow I’ve destroyed the Olympic code, and the lives of my 500-or-so Facebook friends to boot. Egads! I’m so fucking confused! I felt HORRIBLE, and embarrassed for not knowing that I wasn’t supposed to talk about the medals until nighttime, and I kept checking how many friends I had because I figured for sure people were going to delete me for committing such a faux pas. Like, I need all the friends I can get people, please don’t hate me because I’m a Stupid American.

But the thing about gymnastics is that you really don’t watch it for the results. You watch it because these girls do things that YOU CANNOT PHYSICALLY ACCOMPLISH. They are artists and acrobats and curious specimens with occasional natural talent and occasional stage parent-induced, overworked talent. I can swim across a pool. Not as fast as Michael Phelps (I’m not delusional. His arms are way longer than mine so it’s sort of impossible.) but I can make it happen. I CANNOT DO A DOUBLE TRIPLE QUADRUPLE BACK TWIST BLAH BLAH DISMOUNT BLAH. Neither can you. So I didn’t actually ruin your night by telling you they won. I made it better by assuring you that you’d see some amazing moments in sports and feel an immense sense of patriotic pride, something that really doesn’t happen nearly enough these days.

A couple hours later, while I was checking Twitter to see if anyone else had broken the alleged Olympic code, I spotted another headline. This one bigger than the original. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic Athlete. In. The. History. Of. The. World. So wait, let me get this straight. These people train their whole lives and accomplish things that nobody else can do and other than the whole bong thing, pose as literally the greatest role models for my kids that I could ever ask for, and I can’t talk about it publicly until 11:30pm because it will ruin your night? Um, ok.

Or you can just stay off your iPhone and iPad and laptop for a few hours.

So now the time has finally come. The Time of Prime. You’re all sitting on your couches with your loved ones in your arms, snuggled up with your favorite blanket or puppy, watching the gymnastics team flip flop with the men’s swim meet, and the whole time, for some strange ass reason, all you really want to do is go see the new Jason Bourne movie, pop open a Coca Cola and maybe strap on our Nikes and run over to the Chevy dealership to buy a new pickup. You really just can’t figure out why. And instead of watching for the meet for 2 hours, which is about how long it took this morning, you have been sitting here for 3.5 horribly edited hours (like, did you not have time to make it look pretty and crop the shots??) and the USA is yet to have their rotation on the floor, and you have to let your kids stay up extra late, and you’re exhausted and your entire family is going to be CRANKY AS FUCK tomorrow morning, but at least you were exposed to the 60 second Chobani and BMW spots so all is right with the world.

The thing is, even though I (and probably you) knew the outcome, and saw photos all day long, watching the girls reaction at 11:18 pm, a mere 10 hours after it actually went down, made me cry like a girl. And then watching Michael Phelps (when did those headphones get so BIG?) become the most celebrated Olympian in history made Harry cry like one too.

Because it really isn’t the headline that matters. It’s the moment.


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