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Olympics

Agriculture.com Staff 08/14/2008 @ 7:40am

I was busy early this week so I missed the beginning of the Olympics. The first thing I really heard was that Latvia defeated America in beach volleyball.

What the hey? I didn't even know Latvia had a beach.

I looked it up, though, and found out that I was wrong. Latvia does in fact have a beach, right on the Baltic Sea. This time of year, the average temperature in the Baltic Sea is 57 degrees, except if you're right next to an iceberg. Then it's a little colder. That explains why Latvia is so good at beach volleyball -- they're used to playing in mukluks, with a wolverine hanging off one ankle. Put 'em in a Speedo on a sunny day and they must feel like they can fly.

The first I saw of the Olympics was on Sunday night. I prefer to watch sporting events from my recliner, with a bag of chips on my left side, some sort of beverage on the right, and a container of salsa balanced in my belly button. My choice of beverage depends on whether I'm watching the summer or winter Olympics. Let's face it, there's nothing better than sitting in a chair, your shirt covered with crumbs, watching TV between your toes.

One thing I like about the Olympics is the chance to become an instant expert on things I know nothing about. My wife and I were watching some women's swimming events and she asked me why they stayed underwater so long at the beginning of the race. I explained about how it had everything to do with wind resistance, atmospheric pressure, and the chemical composition of their high-tech swimming suits. The honest answer would have been, "Geez, I don't know. They sure can kick though, can't they?" It was even better when I got to explain the scoring regulations in synchronized diving, a sport which I honestly didn't know existed until one night when it showed up on my TV.

Just before the diving, the Chinese women's gymnastics team was on. One of their competitors is 4'6" and weighs 68 pounds.

I'm sorry, but I have shoes heavier than that. Theoretically, athletes have to be 16 or older to compete in the Olympics, but some of these young women looked like they were still in elementary school. What's up with that? I don't understand why they let children perform under such pressure. I realize I must be in the minority here. I listened to one commentator talk about how the Romanian team wasn't very good and he spoke disapprovingly of how he observed the girls from the Romanian team standing around giggling.

THEY'RE LITTLE GIRLS! Standing around giggling is what they're supposed to do; it's part of their job description.

It's just a game, people. It doesn't make China a better country than Bulgaria if their 68-pound 14-year-old does better in the floor exercise.

That's the funny thing about the Olympics. We're caught up in all the flags, parades, and national pride, but in the end, the competition isn't between countries or ideologies, it's a competition between superb athletes doing incredible things. And it's big fun just to watch from the sidelines -- or even from a recliner.

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