I am not at all what one could describe as a “sports fanatic.” It’s true, I do spend a good amount of my life at the gym, enjoying a cardio workout or exercising my tiny girl-muscles. Yet, as a child my voluntary participation in sport was close to non-existent. The kind of people who competed in sport at school (and it was definitely competing – friendly, “have a go” participation didn’t appear to exist where I grew up) were not those an uncoordinated nerd like myself generally associated with.
I can’t even admit to being a regular sport-watcher. Okay – I don’t mind the odd live sports game where there’s generally beer in plastic cups involved, but would I rearrange my schedule to catch the latest Oz vs Canada vs India cricket/football/table-tennis match? Not likely.
So it is a strange phenomenon I find myself embroiled in over the past week. The Rio Olympic games has wormed its way into my psyche and somehow, at every opportunity, I seem to be pressing the button on the idiot-box, anxious for my next hit of synchronised diving, archery or weightlifting. Cross-legged on the couch I critique the divers’ pikes, marvel at the weightlifters grit and choose a team to barrack for generally based on which I consider to be less arrogant.
I’m semi-convinced a key cause of the Fever is this compound and the amount of time one may stay in one’s home. Currently, the commute to work is less than 3 minutes, so when allowing for the fact that one is generally home for lunch as well as often home for the day by 5.10pm in my case, there is an abundance of opportunity for couch and TV time. The husband and I have previously acknowledged this, and pre-Rio we made an effort to limit the amount of TV watching which occurred in our apartment. Being one-bedroom with the kitchen/living/meals area rolled into one, the TV can, if allowed, easily take over the entire space. Which is definitely not worth it with the junk reality shows and repetitive movies which appear on almost every cable channel these days. And so, the TV rules are out the window, and the Olympics are on, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Apart from the variety of sports that are shown (it’s generally possible for one to learn the rules of any sports activity, the exception being Judo – I don’t think I’ll ever understand that!) the other interesting element about the Olympics is seeing all the different countries that are involved. Watching a repeat of the opening ceremony last Saturday morning (commencement of the TV rule breaking), I discovered the existence of countries such as Tuvalu, Cape Verde and Comoros to name a few, in many cases sending only a handful of athletes.
Among those with a small group of competitors is the current habitat of yours truly. Not being a regular follower of the Olympics in previous years, I had not actually heard of “Eric the Eel” until right before we
moved to the island (funnily enough, it was the only piece of trivia that had made people in Oz – a very small number – aware of EG’s existence). In 2016, EG has sent a grand total of two athletes to Rio – one male, and one female, each competing in an athletics event. At the time of writing the events are yet to take place, so we can still be hopeful about medal prospects. Not a regular follower of track and field (after all, it’s a competitive sport) I cannot comment on whether either of the two are likely to be successful. But, like any of the other countries without a large presence at Rio, I can’t help but want them to do well. And, of course, the fact that we live here mandates, in my view, that we get behind our country of residence.
It remains to be seen whether my Fever will cool over the next week or so. In the meantime, I’m happy for something different to break up the monotony of the daily routine. Go EG!