The Para-Athlete Movement

Note: I am writing this as a "short" writing example for some students that I am substitute teaching this week. But the subject has been on my mind!

The fall of my freshman year of high school, one of my classmates was in a car accident and lost the ability to use her legs. She returned to school a few months later in a wheelchair, and our class rallied around her. She was exactly like she had been before the accident - the only difference was that she was wheeling around the buildings. Adjustments needed to be made so that she could do things just like the rest of us, and I don't think anyone minded. She was in our touring choir, so either the churches needed to be handicap accessible or some of our stronger seniors carried her around. When we had end-of-semester concerts and graduations in the gym, the stage that was set up now needed a ramp. When it came to parties, chapel, classes, or even attending the football games, everyone made sure she could be included. As a re…

Track and Field Returns: Observations from Two Meets

Well I made a determination that I would start posting every week starting in 2021, so it's kind of a fluke that I'm posting just a week after my triumphant return. But we had not one, but two athletics competitions in Europe this week, so I feel compelled to share my joy of watching both those meets. The first meet was the Paavo Nurmi Games, held in Finland on Tuesday. For all intents and purposes, the meet looked like a regular meet. Masks were not required by fans (and there were fans in the small stadium) and all the competitions went ahead as planned. There were throwing, jumping, and running events. The setup of the field looked like usual, too. Finland has very few cases of COVID-19 at the moment, so their risk levels are quite low compared to the rest of mainland Europe. (You might wonder why I'm mentioning these things. Stay tuned for the Diamond League information, and you'll know why.)Since the meet was a World Athletics (the name of the official governing b…

Let's Do This All Over Again

As C-3PO so eloquently stated in Return of the Jedi...
As of the time of this posting, we are on the date where the Closing Ceremonies for Tokyo 2020 should have happened. I'm supposed to be finishing up a tour of Japan this week. 
Instead, I'm here at home, trying to avoid people as best as I can, and wearing masks and socially distancing myself when I can't. 
Oddly enough, the past two weeks have been pretty okay! I haven't suddenly gone into a depression spiral because this was supposed to be the time when I was going to be in attendance of the greatest sporting events in history (or at least the past two years). I think what really helped was that everyone was dealing with this - not just me. I wasn't the only one left out. There was no FOMO because I wasn't missing out on anything! 
Reading articles of athletes who have adjusted their training and watching videos of Tokyo's new plans have helped out a lot. It's clear that the world is in this together…

Postponement: Who wins?

Nobody wins. Everybody loses.

Just a couple of hours ago, it was officially announced that the Olympics would be postponed "beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021." This comes after a few days of heated pressure by countries' Olympic committees and official sporting bodies to have the IOC change the date of the Games.

It was never going to be a win. This virus that has shut down most of the world means that everybody loses.

Athletes who want to train? They lost.

Coaches and officials? They lost.

Spectators who planned their trips (like me)? They lost.

People who looked to profit from the tourism boom? They lost.

Organizing officials? They lost.

Nobody wins. Everybody loses.

It is immensely frustrating to see this all take place, but it could be worse. The word cancellation came up so frequently that I had to stop reading social media again. Athletes and content creators make click-bait videos or articles with big words on their feeds: "CANCEL THE OLYMPICS?"…

Little-Known Olympics Videos

Everyone watches the 4x100 meter freestyle swimming relay race from the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Everyone watches the Miracle on Ice from Lake Placid 1980.

Everyone doesn't watch the handball final from Munich 1972.

This week I have been very busy with my day job, so haven't had a whole lot of time for other things. However, I have made it a point to go onto YouTube and search some not-so-well-known videos from Olympics of the past. And boy, YouTube sure has a lot of those!

Here are some of my favorites:

The Official Film of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Basically this official video treats all sporting events that aren't track and field like utter garbage.'s like I made the video! Well, it's like I pushed every other event out of the way, forcing them to tiny montages instead of large profiles. I would not have written a script with such sexist comments! Here's a paraphrase: "Look at these lovely ladies doing some shopping, to make themselves lo…

Lighting the Flame (Literally)

This last Thursday I woke up at 5:15 in the morning to watch the lighting of the Olympic flame. Unlike the lighting in 2017 for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, the day was bright, sunny, and absolutely beautiful. (I don't know if the Olympic Channel meant to do this, but I could especially hear the birds singing.)

Here is a live blog of me watching it. If you want to watch it yourself, you can watch it here:

(The most relevant parts of the ceremony are at 53:00 and 1:10:00, if you are short on time. But I would try to watch all of it if you can!)

5:20 a.m. The small delegation of people invited for this event make their way to the grounds. I first noticed IOC President Thomas Bach, and he's looking pretty cheerful! There's also a contingent of the Presidential guard in their formal garb.

5:22 a.m. I am glad there is live commentary - the OBS does a nice job of explaining things without being annoying. (A reason I'm not watching NBC's stream.) She let us know th…

I'm Not Going to Talk About It

I'm not going to talk about it.

Nope! Not gonna do it.

I'm not going to talk about the frustrations that have come the past two weeks over a trip to Japan that probably will happen but everyone on the Internet surmises won't happen.

I really don't want to talk about the trip planning that I've done ahead of time - something that brought me so much joy and excitement back in January and early February - that now makes me super anxious. (Why did I plan so much ahead of time?)

I could instead talk about the fact that last Sunday I accidentally tweeted out a link to (supposedly) a second week covering Olympic handball, but instead was Part 3 of my Light the Cauldron series. Sorry about that!

But how was I to know? I haven't been on my Light the Cauldron Twitter page all week. When all of the people I follow started to talk about it and how it might affect the Olympics, I couldn't take it anymore. One person questioning the Olympics taking place makes me think,…