Let The Games Begin

 Rio Photo Credit: Dana Johnston

Rio Photo Credit: Dana Johnston

(Sunday Paper, Volume I, Issue 11)

I've never been super-crazy about the Olympics.

I was in the exact right demographic for the original Dream Team in 1992 - I was excited about that.

I always enjoy watching the ice hockey tournament in the Winter Games...and I'll admit to getting swept up (pun intended!) in the curling craze every four years.

And, not unlike with the World Cup, I enjoy having small chunks of time where I pretend to understand soccer and can watch the U.S. play on a world stage.

So it's not like I've been sitting around for four years anxiously anticipating the arrival of these Summer Games...but now that they're here, I'm looking forward to watching them.

I always feel a little conflicted watching the Olympics, because when I was younger I could just watch the competitions and it was about the sport of it all...now I look and I wonder about the cheating and the conditions in which the athletes are competing and the many ways all different people - from the athletes themselves to citizens in the host cities - are being mistreated by this giant organization.

But I'm ready and willing to let myself get caught up in the excitement.

It helps to have kids to watch some of the events with. The girls enjoyed watching the swimming during the trials at the end of June and they loved the gymnastics - and local girl Aly Raisman's success - four years ago. The women's soccer is always fun to watch together, and I'm sure they'll appreciate the opportunity to watch some women's basketball also.

(An aside: So much of the sports we watch on a day-to-day basis in my house is men-dominated, from baseball, where there isn't really a female option that's prevalent, to something like college basketball, where there is a women's option but I just don't watch it that often. So the Olympics offers a great opportunity for gender balance for my three daughters.)

This year, too, there will be a vested interest in U.S. Boxing, as a cousin of mine is an athletic trainer with the team and made the trip to Rio. (Which I'm going to brag about as much as possible because I think it's pretty cool.)

I won't go out of my way to make sure I'm tuned into the NBC primetime coverage like I may have done years ago...but I'll keep an eye on the medalists and the stories that come out of Brazil. I also like the fact that there's no significant time difference where events shown on TV happened hours before.

I'm sure, if we're home during the day, we'll turn on the TV as background noise and see if there are any fun events to watch. (What's my summer version of curling - the sport I enjoy watching while it's on and fantasize that maybe I could play at an Olympic level if I was given the shot tomorrow? Water polo. And the sport that I will keep watching until I figure out the rules? Rugby.)

With the Mets flailing and a long month-plus before the football season gets underway, the two-and-a-half weeks of the Summer Games will serve the purpose the NCAA Tournament serves in March - as a bridge from one season to another - something different to help pass the sports days...if nothing else it gives me something to follow while I wait for the evening baseball to come on.

And then it will go away and I won't really think about the Summer Olympics for four more years.

Although they did announce this week that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will have baseball and softball...and I did think to myself, "Ooh. I can't wait for that."

Writing

*Not much to update you on here, but I will say this: Remember a while back I wrote about the Olympics? (I asked on the Facebook page for some memories to see if my thinking was the same as others'.) It was for the magazine I contribute to every so often - Destinations. (You might remember them from my Cooperstown article.) Anyway, if you're interested here's how that all turned out.

Comedy

*Tonight's the first round of the competition at Mohegan Sun...I'll let you know how that goes. You can probably still get tickets if you're interested in making the trip last minute

*I can't tell you enough great things about Thursday night's Characters show at Stand Up Break In...it was amazing. A lot of talented, funny people performed as these hilarious characters...I'm blown away by the way they could get the audience to accept a persona in such a short time. I think a lot about what I could do on-stage as a character and I haven't found anything that I think could hold a candle to what these other folks do. (Last week I wrote that I was considering doing a character - In the end I figured I'd stick with what I knew worked with my stand-up.) I don't know if I'll ever develop a character or the stick-to-it-iveness to get an audience to buy in to that character....but I sure respect the ability of others to do something like that on stage.

*Just two more Sit-In shows left at The Riot Theater...this week (the 11th) I'm hosting the Stand Up Break In. Can't wait. I rather enjoy hosting. It's a fun lineup - come on out!

What I've Been Enjoying

*Here's a departure from the recent entries in the "What I've Been Enjoying" category - I really like the Natick Farmer's Market. I was a little under the weather this weekend, but I was looking forward to Saturday morning - which is when, from 9am-1pm, a variety of veggie stands and other home-made products hit the Natick town center. It's really a great way to spend some time on a Saturday morning. "We should check out the (fill in town here) farmer's market" is something my wife brings up every now and again and it's kind of an automatic bodily reaction that my eyes glaze over and I am immediately disinterested...but here's a deep, dark secret: I've never been to a farmer's market where I didn't enjoy looking at all the different options being sold. The Framingham one is on Thursdays - I forget even if it's on a Thursday morning or in the afternoon - and I don't know that I've ever been to it. (Frankly I'm not sure if they should be embarrassed about that or if I should be embarrassed about it.) But they seem to have a long way to go to measure up to what Natick has going on Saturday mornings.

*(Update after I wrote this, which you may have already seen on Facebook - there was a salamander in our lettuce!!! You can see - hopefully at this link on Instagram - the salamander off to enjoy his freedom. Also - I wasn't even scared of it!)

Notes

*Maybe it's because of the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, maybe it's because school is fast approaching (or underway, in some parts of the country), but this article I wrote a couple of months ago is picking up some traction again. It's about the great teaching styles at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. Here's the link, if that's something that interests you

*Guys. It's not been a great week. Someday maybe I'll tell you about it. Bottom line is I have a non-cracked phone screen...but it didn't come easy and it cost me probably 100 photos that weren't backed up. I'm too embarrassed about how it all went down to write about it just yet. Someday. Maybe.

*I put this call on the John Sucich Facebook page too (on Friday) - but I'm having trouble figuring out how to make Facebook interactive and making sure people see what I post...I'd love it if you weigh in somehow (this is the first of what I hope will be more often opportunities for interactivity on the site): What are you most looking forward to watching in the Summer Games? (lf you don't feel like putting it on the Facebook page, put it in the comments below.)