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,…

A History of Lighting the Cauldron: Part 3

Tokyo. Mexico City. Munich.

Part 3 of our "Lighting the Olympic Cauldron" series takes us to two countries recovering from world war defeat and another in the midst of its own revolution.

Tokyo 1964: You'll Hear More About This One in Five Months

This was the first Olympics to be held in Asia, so the torch relay spanned many Asian countries, including India, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan before getting to Japan. (China still was not participating in the Olympic Games, and thus was not involved in the torch relay. However, Hong Kong, which was still under British rule, did have the torch go through.)

The cauldron for this Games was built six years beforehand by a Japanese family, Mannosuke Suzuki and his son, Bungo. The reason it was constructed so early was because it was also used in 1958 for the Asian Games, so it's different from the ultra secrecy that the cauldron reveal now possesses.

It was a large metal cone of just over two meters hig…

Spotlight: Handball

I really enjoyed presenting my Olympics plans to my students this week! I would have been happy to show you pictures of the fun...but no one took them. Ah, well.

In the presentation, I showed students the events I was going to see. Many of them piqued their interest, but a couple of them resulted in confused looks. One was 3x3 basketball, which they didn't realize even existed as a real sport. And the second was handball!

This was the picture I showed in my presentation:

It doesn't show very much, but this is a sport I definitely know the kids were not familiar with! What's the point? How many players? What does the court look like? What is he throwing the ball at?

The Rules

Basically, handball is a mix of soccer (football) and basketball. The court is larger than a basketball court, but has the same layout with a center line and arcs on either side. However, the goals are similar to soccer goals, but smaller. Like hockey, players can come on and off the court without goin…