Are you having the same issues as I am? I mean with trying to make it until prime time without hearing how Misty May, Gabby, or Michael did? It’s almost impossible. Isn’t it?
I’ve had to live much of my life like this — trying to avoid hearing the results before I’m able to watch. During the month of July, it’s the Tour de France. Unless I’m lucky enough to catch the live feed in the morning, I have to endure the barrage of media strikes coming at me from all directions.
It’s been a lot easier since a guy named Armstrong retired. When Lance was winning seven tours in a row I couldn’t even trust FM radio to play back-to-back songs without blabbing the day’s winner. It never failed, “And we’re halfway through your hour of uninterrupted music. That was Queen with Bohemian Rhapsody. Stage 15 of this year’s Tour de France was won by American George Hincapie. Germany’s Jan Ullrich lost four minutes to Lance Armstrong, who holds the overall lead by two minutes and 46 seconds. Now here’s Train with Drops of Jupiter.
No time to react. No warning. No rules of engagement. Just a sneak attack from a least-likely venue. If it wasn’t the wacky midday DJ, it was a coworker, “Hey man — how about Lance today — huh!?” NOOOOOO!
But the worst of all was when The Boy (my 14-year-old) would learn of the results.
Boy: “Dad, did you hear what happened today?”
Me: “Boy! What did I tell you about doing this … was there a crash? Only tell me if it was a crash.”
Me: “No – what? No, it wasn’t a crash. Or no, you aren’t telling me?”
Boy: “Just wait until we watch it later … but …”
Me: “STOP! Don’t make a face — don’t say another word — don’t even look at me. Go find something in your room to clean until I call you down.”
And then there was always football season. For the past fifteen years, if the Giants played on a Sunday, I’d have to record the game and watch it after a day of youth football.
The results would come from every corner of the high school campus.
The father up in the press box announcing the game, “And at halftime in Philly, it’s the Eagles 13, Giants 3.”
Great, thanks for that.
The father passing by with his radio, “Hey Ron, how ‘bout your Giants? Wow!”
OK, so wow good? Or wow bad?
Or the trusted president of the league, “So the Giants just went into overtime. What a comeback. Oh no, I forgot. I won’t tell you who wins.”
Finally I got smart and put an announcement in the newsletter to please refrain from telling Ron the score of the Giants game. He is watching it when he gets home.
And now here we are again: The Olympics. Tape delayed for prime time. It’s great that NBC has dedicated a hundred channels to the live events all day. Once in a while I’ll catch one here or another there. But most of the time it’s a game of me trying to avoid the results until I can sit and enjoy the show at night.
Ha! Right! The biggest contest is between the other news outlets trying to see which one of them can ruin the surprise first. They were giving Olympic results in front of the news that Marvin Hamlisch had died.
And if you’d forgotten to disable the “push” option on your iThing, forget it. It’s a great tool for the latest traffic, weather, and breaking news — but not when you want to avoid the Bolt result of the day.
But my very favorite way to have an evening of Olympic viewing ruined is by the Facebook friend who writes, “Yay US Woman’s Beach Volleyball.” Another Facebook status said, “Olympic Spoiler Alert — US Women's Gymnastics just clinched the team gold!” You can’t write all of that on the same line! We need time for our eyes to tell the brain that it should not keep reading.
So I’ve given up. I quit trying to be surprised. I don’t care if I know who won or lost before watching the event. It seems like I’d have an easier time competing in the event than trying to avoid the result.
I have found a new hero though. His name is Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, and he is known as "Blade Runner." Pistorius was born without fibulas, and his legs were amputated below the knee before he was a year old. He runs on carbon-fiber blades and has won four Paralympic gold medals.
He had to fight in court to convince South African and international athletic officials that the blades didn't give him an unfair advantage. After finally winning his case, he failed to make his country’s team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
That didn’t stop him. In London he became the first amputee to compete in track at the Olympics when he ran in a 400-meter heat.
Spoiler Alert: We are all capable of great things. Don’t worry so much about the ending. Much of the good stuff happens on your way there.