Exhausted Olympics, Vol. 2: So Where's MY Medal? Seventy-two Hours of Fear, Anticipation, Fatherhood, and the XIII Olympiad. | Sports

Exhausted Olympics, Vol. 2: So Where's MY Medal? Seventy-two Hours of Fear, Anticipation, Fatherhood, and the XIII Olympiad.


As part of our ongoing, comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics, we have assigned chronic insomniac Elizabeth Nelson and brand-new, first-time father Mike V. to turn on the TV and share their reflections whenever they might happen to remember to do so. The INDY's Exhausted Olympics Coverage™ is the sole property of the INDY, and in the event of a legal dispute, the party that loses must pay the winning party's court costs. For our current installment, Mike V. brings new life into the world, suggests potential Olympic improvements, and consigns his new son to a career in curling.

The boy is apparently not quite ready to emerge. His due date has come and gone, leaving my wife and me at least one more night of sleep unencumbered.

After nine months of being an absolute champ, barely complaining, rather enjoying and reveling in almost every moment pregnancy provides, she is finally uncomfortable and ready to be done with the physical burden. She’s ready to be a mom.

And I am ready to meet my son.

Alas, another night on the couch, our hands on her stomach waiting to feel for any fetal indication that our son is coming, hoping for a new sensation in the kicks she’s been feeling for months. We talk about the fears, the joys, the nervous energy, the palpable excitement, and everything else that comes with our son’s impending arrival. We ponder whether he’ll have hair, when my wife will decide to start an epidural, how long she might labor for. We discuss the nuts and bolts, the checking in, the triage section of the labor and delivery department, that I should leave our overnight bags in the car until we know for sure that she’ll be staying and delivering. I check to make sure the car seat is locked in place in her Volvo and that the gas gauge reads near “F.” I fold a few of his tiny clothes once more, talking to him from the other room, from outside of his mother’s womb, imploring him to hurry up, insisting that we cannot wait to be with him.

So I guess you could say that by the time we turn on the Olympics, things have gotten a little weird.

My esteemed colleague Elizabeth Nelson has already written insanely about the insane opening ceremonies, and yet I have to interject. It is unparalleled insanity: a living version of a disastrous turn at summer camp macrame, a mess of living tie dye soundtracked by John Williams knockoffs. Part of me wishes we could spend this time getting to know the athletes better, rather than watch a stadium floor filled with hundreds of spinning, shirtless dancers besotted by their moment in the spotlight and kids choirs awash in ugly lights and castoff concepts of contemporary art.

I would more readily watch three hours of athletes in a one-shot talking about themselves the way the kids in the Little League World Series do.

My name is Jakki Smironen from the Swedish ski jump team.
I’m twenty-nine years old and my favorite movie is
Anchorman 2!

They could even include a ticker with more athlete facts.

Favorite book: Great Expectations
Favorite music: Justin Timberlake
Favorite animal: A duck

I'll stipulate this, and fight me if you want: there are far too many athletes from around the world, which leaves us to watch this parade of some of the planet’s most talented people dressed up like Harry and Lloyd when they get to Aspen. Folks, we call that a problem without a solution, and until these “Games” start involving actual games, call me a dissident. I'm agitated.

And until our son arrives, until the games get underway in earnest, here we’ll remain on the couch, waiting for a sign that the time is here. Hopefully, the events will start soon.

Medal count: 0
Diaper count: 0

Tuesday 4:23 AM EST
Tonight here I sit with my newborn son in my arms. I’ve not slept in a real way for days and I’m watching a man that looks something like a mixture of Andy Reid and the guy who played Benvolio in Baz Luhrmann’s hyperstylized iteration of Romeo + Juliet scream instructions at his sister as she follows their collective stone down the ice. I can’t help but wonder how someone gets into curling.

We’re just four days in, so I still feel my son can do whatever he wants. Right now he is tabula rasa. He can be a football player, a pilot, a dancer, a comedian, a writer, or a musician. He can spend his life earning degrees, or he can enter the workforce straight from high school. He could be a curler. So long as he never stops learning, the choice is his. He can never set foot in the ocean, or he can become a professional surfer. His life, though currently in our hands, is up to only him.

And again, I'm just watching out of the corner of my eye, but I see curling as an option.

When exactly did curling become a thing? I distinctly remember first taking note of its mere existence when I was in college, likely having invented some drinking game to make the endeavor of watching grown men and women sweep ice more interesting.

Perhaps the semi-absurd nature of the sport lends itself to semi-fanaticism, even if it only appears on network television every fourth year. Curling, it seems, is often the sport many of us look forward to most at the onset of the Winter Games.

Perhaps it’s because it is the only Olympic sport that can be played beer in hand? Or maybe it’s that, while we know we could never outrun Usain Bolt or outski Lindsey Vonn, most American Olympic fanatics tell themselves, “I could do that” while watching the curling events. We convince ourselves that, with a bit of practice, we too could be professional curlers.

Maybe, just maybe, my few-days-old son will devote his life to the sport of curling. Maybe he’ll someday be the guy brushing the path in front of his teammate’s smooth stone with an American flag emblazoned on his shoulder, his proud parents beaming from the stands above the ice.

I'm just musing here, folks. It's not a blood oath. I'm really enjoying the Olympics, although my baby makes me tired. More soon!

Medal Count: 6
Diaper Count: 24

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