It's On

The Olympics are here.


Okay, technically they started days before the fireworks, parade of nations, show of military might and Elizabeth’s “I declare open the games of London.”

I liked that.

“Good job you” Ms. Queen.

First off... where were all the USA athletes in the opening ceremonies?

I know when I have to get to the Valley or out Thane, I manage to leave at an appropriate travel time depending on circumstances such as rain, mudslide, road rage and Orca sightings.

For months the Brits have been castrated and cauterized for what many perceived would be travel issues.

So that warning was out there.

For months there was the promise of increased security.

So there is that.

Fans, tourists, family members and looky-loos have overwhelmed the reservations of this normally reserved country for months.

So that notion of an abundance of attendees was out there.

For well over a few months, the USA has known how many athletes were traveling... just not whom they were... that number is basically always fixed.

So it wasn’t like a dozen players showed up with sleeping bags and comic books and asked to spend the nights.

Yet, the basketball team misses a presser, the soccer team watches from televisions.

Speaking of televisions... so, with my back to the “office” television as I work the keyboard on the computer, I hear what sounds like croquet or lawn billiards, except with cheering.

You know, that hard click sound of a well-swung mallet striking a hard wooden ball through wickets towards the stake.

What an agreeable out door amusement for a genteel and competitive pastime.

Yet here it is on an indoor turf with some rather beastly acting athletes, holding clubs (I am repositioning my computer so I can type AND see the telly).

So the aforementioned sound is actually Field Hockey... and the players ALL have small hard blunt hockey sticks. And the rules are more complicated than I need to know for just watching.

I do observe no players but the goalies are wearing helmets or masks and that ball gets wacked pretty hard. I also note that everyone has to bend over a lot when they put a stick to the ball or run bent over with the stick hitting the ball and I envision that in interviews after the match the players are either 1) sitting on a bench, or 2) standing with hands on hips, bent forward, looking up side ways at an ESPN employee holding a microphone.

It seems Greeks played a form of field hockey in 200 BC with horn and ball object, the Western Australian Noongar people played “Dumbung” (a dried sap from a pear tree), Chilean Araucano Indians played “Chueca” (the twisted one), and American natives played it with sticks and rocks, and the Mongolian Daur’s played a similar “Beikou” game for thousands of years.

Croquet, it seems, was a game once popular in pubs with large lawns, but it died out just prior to World War II. Too many half-sodden players on a nice comfortable lawn probably wouldn’t be the best business venture.

And Michael Phelps lost.

Careful Klas, potential death by column.

Well, Phelps lost. To a better athlete on this day in the pool. And it was another team member.

That is why the Olympics are so fun. It is about country.

Our own Olympic type events are about to open.

The High School Daze Games.

We have cross-country, cheer, dance, football, wrestling, volleyball, tennis, swimming and diving, hockey, basketball, skiing, pep band, track, soccer, softball and baseball.

Some will have skating and gymnastics. Some will master sports on the fringe.

Others will take on academics, drama, debate, theater, math, English, sciences and so on. Some will home school. Some will be community involved. And others will strive to be better at home.

Some will do all of these things... okay, high school attendance rules and Alaska Scholastic Activities Association guidelines make it pretty difficult to rack up 25 school letters in one year.

Speaking of ASAA (typing very softly right now)... due to a conflict with the Sullivan Arena and UAA Hockey the high school basketball state championships will now be moved back another week to March 21-23.

It will be interesting to see what the Spring Break schedule is. Just saying.

I was going to include the new wrestling seeding procedures in this column but, after a few reads, I am a bit flummoxed to say the least.

I mean, if the powers of ASAA got a bit perturbed with inaccurate paperwork errors from coaches, and have spent countless seasons addressing those concerns and shifting seasons and school size tournaments, yet the conflicts still arise... what chance do I have?

I sure miss the good old days of a mass tournament from every corner of the state... why I remember walking 40 miles in mukluks with a packsack of fresh venison, through blizzards, over mountain peaks, just to catch the fishing boat that would take us four days to a small port of call along a caravan route to the interior where we had to wrestle 35 times in a day just to earn the right to be in the tournament there... and the tournament started the next month so we had to go home and come back... no, really, this IS the truth. Yep, still have some of that Palin swampland for sale too (nudge, nudge, wink wink).

So today is the first day of cross country practice. Football follows in a day.

When it comes time for the first event, I would like to see Governor Sean Parnell or Mayor Bruce Botelho at Thunder Mountain or Adair Kennedy.

“I declare open the Crimson Bears’/Falcons’ football season,” they could say.

I have seen Governor Parnell throw out a baseball... and a softball. I have seen Mayor Botelho maneuver a mean Norwegian dance move. They have skills.

Why should the Queen have all the fun?

I am sure all our athletes would be there.

Oh, by the way, if you are that one person not giving a heck about the OLY’s... it was Ryan Lochte that beat Michael Phelps.

And the French got us in the swim relay, and the Koreans batted our mittens rather sternly in the birdie sport.

Well, time to hit the loo, no looking.


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