Thursday, August 4, 2016

It's Time Again for the Summer Games

When I started writing this blog, I envisioned writing about sports all year, but it has focused primarily on football, boxing and horse racing with other sports tossed in from time to time. And most of my writing on this blog gets done during football season.

I enjoy watching other sports between football seasons, but I don't always feel compelled to write about them.

As always, I am looking forward to the start of football season, now only about four weeks away, but the Summer Olympics will begin tomorrow, and I am looking forward to that, too. It brings back memories of my childhood — when my family would gather in the living room every night for two weeks to share the Olympic experience via TV. We always got to see many exciting, dramatic moments; in between, we got to take tours of faraway places. All without ever having to leave our living room (and without having to pay so much as a dime for it, either, back in those pre–cable and pre–satellite days — but that's a topic for another time).

My mother has been deceased for more than 20 years, but my father is still living, and I look forward to sharing some of those experiences with him over the next two weeks.

The experience has never been the same for me without Mom, though. She loved watching the Olympics. She was totally absorbed in the drama.

She made a production of it when my brother and I were small. That wasn't unusual, though. She always liked to decorate the house with the appropriate holiday theme — you know, red, white and blue for the Fourth of July, pumpkins for Halloween, turkeys for Thanksgiving, all that stuff.

Mom was very creative, anyway. Speaking of Halloween, Mom used to make my Halloween costumes — and my brother's. She was good at it, too.

Something like the Olympics was perfect for her. In addition to the iconic Olympic rings, Mom could work in things that connected to wherever the Olympics were being held. I think she preferred it when they were held somewhere of which she knew little or nothing — it was like giving an artist a blank canvas — and that wasn't easy because my parents did a lot of traveling when they were young. My father did his Ph.D. work in Scotland, then my parents spent five years as missionaries in Africa. When they returned to the U.S., they kind of took the long way home, traveling through Europe before finally leaving for the United States.

I was with them when they returned to the U.S., having been born about a year earlier. When I was a teenager, my father got a kick out of telling me that I visited two dozen countries before I was 2 years old, then he would ask, "Do you remember that?"

Sure, Dad.

I've seen pictures of myself at different stops we made along the way, including a couple of places where the Summer Games had been held in the past. As an adult, I have visited some American cities where past Summer Games have been held. I have even visited Athens, the ancient cradle of the Olympics. But I've never been to a city that was hosting the Games when I was there.

That isn't an item for my "bucket list." As a matter of fact, I don't really have a bucket list.

If I did, I guess going to the Kentucky Derby would be on it. Or maybe the Super Bowl (when the Packers were playing in it).

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the Games from Rio.

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