Running On Empty

After spending the majority of my summer focusing on the Chicago White Sox and anyone who was playing the Cubs, the Olympics kicked off and subsequently took over my life.

Conveniently the start of the Olympics coincided with the end of my summer internship, leaving me with 24 hours every day to dedicate to the Olympics, and I could not get enough.

As the first week of the games progressed, my attention moved from the standard Olympic sports like swimming and basketball to the more obscure like badminton, women's double trap shooting and fencing. The shift in my attention came about for a couple reasons.

For one, the men's basketball team's performance against Puerto Rico was disheartening. Clearly the days of Dream Team domination are over and the rest of the world is catching up. At least the boys from the United States were able to redeem themselves and make it into the semi-finals, a task that should have been a breeze.

The second thing to turn me off from the more popular sports was Michael Phelps, who is an astounding swimmer. But the hoopla over his looks was more than I could handle. If I was watching swimming by myself, it was OK. But if another girl was enjoying the games with me, swimming took a back seat to, well, anything else, which is a shame because I really did enjoy swimming.

If there was such a thing as a quarter fairy and she was there to give me a quarter each time someone mentioned how good looking Michael Phelps was, paying for my laundry wouldn't be such a problem this semester.

Basketball and swimming can be exciting and intense sports and obviously get a lot of attention because of it.

Surprisingly, badminton and handball can be equally exciting and intense. Quite possibly one of the most exciting events I watched over the last two weeks was a preliminary handball game between Croatia and Slovenia. The excitement of the gold medal badminton match between Taufik Hidayak of Indonesia, the supposed bad boy of badminton, and Seung Mo Shon of South Korea surprised me at first. However, by the end of the match the intensity had gotten the best of me and I was just as in to it as the fans in the stadium.

All Olympic athletes are amazing. The skill and dedication required to perform at such a high level is higher than I could ever imagine obtaining, but it is those athletes that excel in something like trap shooting or weightlifting that really impress me. Trap shooting isn't the kind of sport that a kid joins when they are little and gets hooked on.

What it is that draws people to some of these sports I'll never know, but more power to them for doing so well.