An Olympics for Klutzes
Way, way back in the days in which (Charles) Atlas was a muscleman and Hercules (aka Steve Reeves) was the greatest of Greek he-men, I had a fleeting interest in becoming an Olympic athlete. I imagined myself wearing a gold medal, having my face on Wheaties boxes, endorsing everything from Athenian gyros to Trojan condoms, appearing on four-rate daytime game shows and the Battle of the Obscure Celebrities, and pulling the toupee off of garrulous sportscaster Howard Cosell like Muhammad Ali.
However, those dreams dissipated when I ran in my first race in YMCA day camp. I was so slow–how slow were you?–that I couldn’t beat a snail in a 100 meter dash even if I had a fifteen minute head start. At the end of the race, I asked my sister, “Did a win a medal?” She replied, “Uh, no, Joe”.
As I grew older, I became the Olympian of klutzes. I couldn’t jump over hurdles, throw a discus, do a high jump, or walk a balance beam. I was like Janis Ian in the song “At Seventeen”–I was the person whose name was never called for a basketball or pretty much any other endeavor that required a good sweat and a jockstrap.
Every year, the Razzies are awarded to the worst movies and acting performances of the past year. Sometimes, I wish there was a Razzies for Olympic athletes. It would be quite entertaining seeing pseudo-jocks run like they are suffering from the heartbreak of constipation; belly flop in swimming pools; unable to do somersaults, handstands, and back flips; and do foul-ups, bleeps, and blundering during the decathlon that would astound the Three Stooges.
A Razzie Olympics would be much like a contest envisioned by the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron de Coubertin, in which the goal is taking part rather than winning. Not only that, it would certainly be a TV ratings smash. After all, nimrods such as Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards and the Jamaican bobsledding team became bigger celebrities than a bevy of Olympians that won a bevy of medals.
Not every athlete is “stronger, higher, faster”. Some are destined to win participant trophies rather than gold medals. A Razzie Olympics would celebrate the athletes who are like me–those who are more like Klutz E. Hercules than Hercules.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
I would have an easier time finding gold in the Klondike than winning a gold medal at the Olympics.