April in Glenwood: Entertainment gold in Rio
I think I’m going to miss Rio Olympic coverage when it’s gone.
I can’t remember ever being so interested in the Olympics as I have been this summer. I’ve been watching all the events, from water polo to table tennis, with swimming and diving ranking as my top favorites.
Until this week’s track and field competitions that brought the excitement.
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who ranks as the fastest person ever timed, and the three-medal sweep by American women in the 100-meter hurdles have been fun to watch. I enjoy the track and field events because I’m least likely to ever be fast at anything. I’m often referred to as one of my Colorado nicknames, Pokey. My Indiana friends refer to my pace in getting out the door as April Time. Luckily I’m marrying someone who is always about 15 minutes early everywhere he goes.
That has to provide some balance in my life.
In the time it took Bolt to win his first gold at the games, 9.81 seconds in the men’s 100 meter race, I just begin to try and figure out where I put my keys so I can start my car. Then I take another 5.81 minutes to locate them. Having a baby has trained me to try and keep everything I’ll need together in one place so I can head out the door with all that stuff babies need away from home. But the residual fog of pregnancy brain — not a myth, I promise — still causes me to forget at least one item I need later, or lose keys and items of clothing, at least once a week.
That does not help with the April Time average.
I’ve watched in awe as the various athletes move through their Rio Olympics events with wildcat-like speed. In winning a silver and five gold medals, Olympian Michael Phelps brought a refreshed level of competition to his swimming events. I was happy to see fatherhood provide some inspiration — babies have magical powers, I’m convinced. I rooted for his wins this summer like I knew the guy, which I obviously don’t, but I felt like his story of overcoming the odds can be found in all of us. He also has super-human strength that continually blows my mind.
The women’s gymnastics team, in particular phenom Simon Biles, has also shown what drive and determination can bring in the form of domination in their respective field of competition. I was routinely terrible at gymnastics in middle school, a gym class requirement that usually had me freaking out about the thought of hoisting myself over the vault or up on the uneven bars. So watching the gymnasts’ flipping through the air and balancing on narrow beams is nothing short of amazing to me.
Same goes with synchronized swimming.
My ability to look charming, dance, hold my breath, and spin through the water with the ease of a dolphin is minimum-to-none. When I think about synchronized swimming, that scene from my favorite movie, “History of the World, Part 1,” comes to mind. It seems like an impossible feat, to stay afloat while dancing and smiling.
Especially in the deep end of a pool.
I think about any of the sports in the Olympics are impossible to reach the levels at which these athletes compete today, especially sprinting and beach volleyball. The chances of me ever running quickly like Bolt or spiking a ball for the win like April Ross are slim. That’s what makes them fun to see, especially the older and less agile I become. It’s a lot like watching superheroes in a Marvel movie or dance scenes from a Broadway production. I hold a great deal of respect and admiration for their exquisite talents. Many of the athletes’ stories of rising to the top from early starts as kids in competitive sports are motivational at the least. Hearing our national anthem play as we win gold also brings a little tear to the eye, knowing these athletes have reached the highest of goals to be world champions in their sport.
Many of them have magical powers, I’m convinced.
April E. Clark is proud of the Indiana and Purdue University swimmers and divers who won gold. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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The first in-person local festival of the year has arrived with Dandelion Day making its return to Sopris Park in Carbondale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday.