So how did the girl who was always picked last end up being such a sports junkie? The family sports gene totally missed me: I can't play golf, don't really get into hiking and climbing and hunting and fishing, would rather sit in the cabin and read all day than waterski or swim and play volleyball. But I am an Olympicsholic. I admit it.
I can still remember where I was when that little Romanian 14-year-old, Nadia Comaneci, scored her first perfect 10 on the bars in 1976 (I was standing there in my underwear, ironing in a stifling second-floor walkup apartment overlooking West Seventh and Randolph in St. Paul). And Mark Spitz? No matter what Michael Phelps does in the pool, Spitz is still my all-time favorite McDreamy.
Maybe it's because I raised a bunch of athletes and did a little swimming myself a very long time ago that I realize how extraordinary these Olympians are. Their dedication to perfection is something I find quite awe-inspiring. Sometimes, of course, it's downright obsession and probably borders on madness and narcisism. Nevertheless, the Olympics are still a blast to watch, and my anemic patriotism gets a free boost, too, despite living in the city where John McCain is having a great big party next month.
This year I'm glued to the TV as I am every four years, although I haven't stolen any planks from the garage for a makeshift balance beam this time. I just can't get that dismount down.