By Mike Redmond
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Jun 12, 2012, 04:53 PM EDT
Saw a story the other day (in some little local supermarket handout called The New York Times) about bringing back events that have disappeared from the Olympic Games - things like softball, dueling pistol target shooting, two-handed javelin, and my personal favorite, tug-of-war.
Really. Olympic tug-of-war. It's the Times. They wouldn't make it up. That's The New York Post.
Between 1900 and 1920, the world's greatest amateur tug-of-warriors competed for the glory of Olympic gold and the chance to appear on a Wheaties box, once somebody got around to inventing Wheaties.
Unfortunately, Wheaties didn't appear until 1924 and by then, tug-of-war had been cast out of Olympus to the lowly reaches of grade-school field days, corporate team-building workshops, and Challenge of the Network Stars.
I doubt the movement to return the tug of war to the Olympian heights is going to gain much traction. It has, however, given me an idea.
It starts with this: We can't all be the regular kind of Olympic athletes. Who has the time? All that work, the practice, the training ... why, you'd have to miss an entire season of "The Bachelorette" and cut your pizza consumption by as much as a third. There's no way the average American would go in for that kind of sacrifice.
But we live in an era in which everyone is supposed to be special just for being alive and on the planet, regardless of whether they have any discernible talent or ability. As proof, I give you the cast of "Jersey Shore."
So I'm thinking: We already have an Olympics for the elite runners, jumpers, gymnasts, swimmers, and such. Why not an Olympics for the rest of us, doing the sorts of things that are more within our skill sets, which is to say easy?
Tug-of-war is just the beginning. Think of the possibilities for events in the Regular People Olympics: Potato sack races. Egg toss. Indian wrestling. Red Rover. Dodge ball. Flashlight tag. Kickball. Beanbag toss. Yahtzee. Juggling. Slapjack. Beer pong.
Of course, those are kiddie games, except maybe for the beer pong. That's more of an arrested adolescent game. Perhaps we should include some modern adult competitions, competitions based on Real Life As We Know It in 2012:
Indoor two-handed electronic device manipulation (two divisions: TV remote and smart phone).
Individual errands medley (grocery store, dry cleaners, pharmacy, post office, pick up kids from school).
Multi-tasking relay (the American working mom should be a gold-medal contender in this one).
Riding lawnmower slalom.
Individual, two-man and four-man barbeque.
Cookie toss. (You could actually combine this one with team drinking for the AlcoholÊ Biathlon.)
Twenty kilometer dog walk.
What do you think? No? I guess you're right. It would never fly. The Olympics stand for something and that something isn't floating on your back in an inflatable kiddie pool. Or, it seems, you and your teammates pulling on a rope with a bunch of other people pulling back.
But while I admire Olympic athletes for what they do, I also believe this:
Some days, most days, just getting up and living your life - your Real Life As You Know It In 2012 - is its own kind of tug-of-war, except you're not pulling the rope. You're pushing it. Life As You Know it is an Olympian challenge, you might say. And just getting through it wins the medal.
© 2012 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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