A few random thoughts about the Olympics, which I feel qualified to offer, as I spent a good part of my afternoon getting emotionally invested in the women's weightlifting competition for what I'm pretty sure is the first time I was ever aware there was a women's weightlifting competition. I'm not entirely sure how it ended, or who won, or if anyone won? I think the American ended up with a bronze, but of course it's very hard to tell with all the grunting.
The Olympics, every four years, offer excitement, national pride and the cold inveterate knowledge that if I work out for six hours a day for the 15 or so years I have left on Earth (a psychic once told me I'll be killed by a hydrofoil in 2027, long story), I'll never be in as good a shape as people who played water polo at the *last* Olympics, let alone the Olympics currently under way. I'll also never be in as good a shape as women's weightlifters, which I'm making up for by grunting loudly while accomplishing menial tasks around the house, such as dropping the kids off in the morning, or perhaps making a smoothie.
But I've made up for this latest example of my physical inadequacy by becoming the planet's biggest fan of synchronized diving, which combines two of my favorite things about the Olympics: diving, and two people doing the same thing at the same time for no discernible purpose whatsoever. I'd be deliriously happy if you synchronized literally everything about the Olympics: synchronized javelin, synchronized equestrianing, synchronized boxing, synchronized Bob Costas, synchronized godawful post-competition interviews, synchronized ruining the results of swimming with "Today" promos, synchronized Skydiving Queen Elizabeths, and SERIOUSLY why didn't anybody think of that? SYNCHRONIZED SKYDIVING QUEEN ELIZABETHS. That happens one time, and no one would give a hot silly darn who "Michael Phelps" is. Frankly if they could synchronize the people who do the synchronizing, I would die a very happy man, via an apparently epic hydrofoil crash.
If you missed synchronized diving, which you might have, because apparently Michael Phelps was doing something interesting, it is, at the risk of being hyperbolic, the greatest sport in the history of human competitiveness, and yeah I said it handball. Here is how synchronized diving works: Two people who weigh 38 lbs. each and have excellent trust issues leap off a very high platform at the same time. And here's the part that I'll never understand: At no point in their descent do they flail about, shriek noticeably and/or bump into each other, bonking into their partner in a manner that creates a very satisfying Flintstones-style two-stones-clunking sound effect.
It's the sort of thing that most people wouldn't be able to do synchronizing with themselves, is what I'm saying. No one can do this. In fact I have to believe that if God were the slightest bit athletic, he’d very likely be a synchronized diver. It would be exceedingly difficult, of course, what with his long flowing beard and all that, but if anyone could invent a waterproof beard-container apparatus, I’m pretty positive it’s him. The only question would be what anthem would play when he won, but I'm pretty sure it'd be something by that Josh Groban character.
Yet there is something that troubles me about synchronized diving — or, to be honest, regular old relatively supercrazy-boring unsynchronized diving (which, frankly, is a total buzzkill now, I watch it thinking, “Sure, they seem nice, but where are their friends?”): When synchronized divers complete their dives, usually by folding themselves into falling trapezoid shapes, then unfolding themselves, then doing 24 clockwise spin-diddly-around things, then entering the water in a non-cannonball fashion, when this is all done, the FIRST THING the announcers say is some variation of “Wow, that was really awful, Steve.”
But here's the crazy part: Steve usually goes RIGHT ALONG WITH IT, which is weird, and I think Steve really needs to stand up for himself, because when a human performs some sort of ungodly human twist-tie thing like that, I can’t imagine complaining about it. At all. Ever.
I guess that’s why I’m not a synchronized diving announcer. Because every time someone completed a dive, the only novel expert commentary I’d be able to offer would be some variation on the phrase, “HOLY JIM JAMMITY SON OF A (it is here that I begin issuing inventive, creatively dispensed variations on many, many words that would cause this newspaper a great many lawsuits), DID YOU SEE WHAT THAT LITTLE HOBBIT PERSON JUST DID?” Fire would, in all likelihood, be shooting out of my nose. Which is probably why they don't let me plan synchronized queen-diving.
Jeff Vrabel is the reigning Olympic record holder in the 100M sprint. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com and followed at http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.