tfw is a mini personal essay series I’m try to do on Tuesdays to recount second-person experiences of feelings and experiences we all have. Or maybe I’m the only one who has them?
It happens every two years and you always get very, very, very excited about it: it’s the Olympics.
“I love the Olympics,” you tell people. “They’re just so fun and sporty and make me feel like I’m in high school again.”
You say it again and again—”I love the Olympics.”—but you don’t have cable and you aren’t sure how to watch it. You keep saying it though.
“I love the Olympics,” you say to friends at a dinner.
“Did you watch the opening ceremonies? They were amazing,” someone says.
You look beyond them, trying to find some screen recapping the event, but are at a loss. “No,” you say. “I was out…I had something that night and—actually, I think I need some more water.”
People get medals and you read articles about how well the United States is doing. Yet, you haven’t seen a single event.
“Gymnastics are just the best,” you tell someone. “I love the Olympics.”
“Did you watch the…” the person continues, entering a foreign language of unknown athletes in unknown sporting events in things you have no clue about.
“Huh, I must have missed that,” you shrug.
You are in a room with a television. The Olympics are on. You watch the sporting event, mostly to watch male bodies in little, tight clothing bounce around. You aren’t keeping track of any of the action except for the bodies.
“I love the Olympics,” you Tweet. You tag friends to watch certain events, friends who you did sports with in college. You smile at the television and feel especially patriotic. I need to watch more of this, you think.
A friend texts you about a particularly important or popular Olympic something. “DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THAT??” they ask.
“Oh, yeah!” you reply, after a quick search. “I love the Olympics!”
Past the halfway point of events, you’re talk to a friend about the games. “I watch them every time they happen,” your friend says.
“I do too,” you mention. “I love the Olympics.”
“Who was your favorite athlete in the last games?”
“Um,” you smile. “I love the Olympics.”
Your friend gives a kindly, quaint, sad-for-you smile, the kind of empty look you give a child or challenged person to let them know that you hear them and understand them but they aren’t necessarily right.
“You know,” you tell them, realizing something. “I used to watch the Olympics every time they happened. I love the Olympics.”
“But, you know, since I graduated from college and I don’t have cable I haven’t watched them since…”
“I was a teenager.”
“I just read recaps, I guess. I used to watch every single event.”
They nod and pull out their phone.
“I guess I used to be really into them. I do still love them but I guess I just haven’t made time to…”
They put their phone away, “Yeah, the Olympics are just great.”
The closing ceremonies pass and you look at photos of everything that happened over the past two weeks, while you weren’t watching. Two more years, you think. Then they’ll be back. It’ll be Winter and, while those aren’t as exciting, they will be back. You love the Olympics. You can’t wait until next time.