Beach Volleyball Belgians

Kelly’s storytime hero, Andrew from Borders, instructed his fans to watch the Olympics after they began the following week. I didn’t intend to watch the Olympics, but for Kelly’s sake we did. And I am surprised at some of the Olympic sports. Kelly saw synchronized diving, which is cool, but who goes in for synchronized diving other than divers who realized they couldn’t do five flips before hitting the water?

My favorite is beach volleyball, which certainly wasn’t an Olympic sport when I was in high school. OMG, is there are more perfect sport, like, ever? You have to train at the BEACH in a BIKINI! And unlike other beach sports involving swimwear, you never have to brave the gnarly waves, except maybe to after jump after the ball your stupid teammate mis-served, at which point you can dis her. OMG, I could have totally done beach volleyball in high school.

It seemed like an unfair sport because obviously the only countries who could ever sponsor a decent beach volleyball team would be California (uh, USA) and Australia. Like, duh! So, wasn’t I floored, just like everyone else in the universe, when Belgium (Belgium, OMG!!!) brought up a kick-ass beach volleyball team? Does Belgium even have a beach? OMG, if it does, it’s like, like, an arctic beach, OMG! And, yet, there the Belgian girls were, kicking American ass! It was shocking! It was like some 80s teen exploitation movie out of Vista where the smart girls got tired of the tall bubbleheads at the beach volleyball tournament and decided to get even by going to someplace with a more sophisticated intellectual atmosphere (aka better beer and guys with a foreign accent) and form their own beach volleyball team! My friend Chris and I could have starred in that movie, if only, if ONLY, beach volleyball had been an Olympic sport 10 years ago (and we were both a foot taller, but that’s irrelevant).

Beyond my fantasy, the thing that startled me was the Russian swimming uniform. I had thought the American swim team uniform (which you can buy every Olympic year from Speedo) was startlingly minimalist. Three quarters of the suit is plain black: only at a certain angle can you discern a ribbon of American flag. But it turned out most of the swimmers were wearing black unitards anyway, and on the podium, the American sweatsuit was outright ostentatious compared to the Russian one worn by Arkady Vyatchanin, the bronze medal winner. His outfit was pure white except for a red dragon/flower motif going up one side. He could have been swimming for China or Japan or Austria or Greenland: who’d know?

I think that’s the extent of my Olympics watching. After all, besides gymnastics (which calls for muscular children), most sports excellence requires super-tall super-humanoids, and only the U.S. excells at that. Whenever we don’t win, it seems the athletes who do, at least trained in our country. And that doesn’t make the Olympics very exciting at all.

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