Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 14: Gold Medal Deja vu

It’s always hard to not meet expectations. However, there are times when expectations can be quietly shut away, and other times when expectations are stopped in their tracks.


This Olympics, it seems like when the male athletes don’t meet expectations (Shaun White, Shani Davis, Bode Miller), they do it quietly. They end up off the podium completely. It kind of feels okay when they lose. You’re disappointed, but it’s not going to ruin your day.


When it comes to the women, however, they ruin your expectations like a sucker punch.


Last week Hannah Kearney was riding high in women’s moguls, and everyone knew she’d do it again. Then she consistently couldn’t handle the first moguls after the first jump. Just like that, she was getting bronze.


Sucker punch.


Yesterday the bobsled ladies came so close to gold, and then had a cruddy final run to let the Canadians slip in.


Sucker punch.


Today, the US women’s hockey team was THIRTY SECONDS away from gold, and just like that, Canada tied it, and then won in overtime. Gold gone. Just like that.


Sucker punch. Suckerpunchsuckerpunchsuckerpunch. (Let’s just call it the Shoryuken of the Winter Olympics)


There have been times when men have let us down hard, or the ladies just fade into the background. However, when I look back on these Olympics, the most disappointing moments (right now) are those of the ladies that just couldn’t finish it off.


Now let me tell you a story:


The hockey game started at 10am Mountain Time. My kids started watching the first period during snack time, when the score was 0-0. They didn’t watch much (it snowed last night and they wanted to get outside), but I kept it on the computer, glancing at it while they had quiet study time. Right at lunch time, the second intermission was going on, so I let them eat in the lunchroom and not in the classroom.


A Wonderful Mom volunteered to take the kids for lunch and recess, so when the third period began, I was correcting papers from the morning, printing out some coloring sheets for free time work, and eating my lunch. I was excited, because if it timed out just right, the kids would be coming back in from lunch recess as Team USA was celebrating the gold.


With 3:30 left to play, Canada scored. I had an inkling in the back of my head. Wouldn’t it just suck to see Canada come back and win? I shook off the thought and continued preparations for the afternoon. I quick ran to pick up some copies off the printer with about 1:30 left to play, and as I came back in, I watched the final minute of play intently. Team Canada pulled their goalie, and they were giving it all they had.


My worst fears (about the game) were realized with 26 seconds left. Team Canada found a hole in the middle and got it past Team USA’s goalie. I audibly yelled “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Unreal. I was so ticked off. I knew my dad would be ticked off too. (And he was!)


After the kids came in and had their DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read, for you non-educators), I asked them if they were interested in watching any of the overtime. Most said yes, so I put it on and explained that the next goal wins gold.


I made a deal with my kids - if Team USA won, I’d let them run down the hallway in a victory lap. If Team Canada won, they’d have to mourn in the comfort of my own classroom. After Team Canada won, the roar of indignation from my classroom was so loud the principal came in to see what was going on. When I told him what happened, he went, “Oh they lost?” He was also disappointed.


I really want to show my kiddos a live event of the US winning gold, but every time I try, they blow it! If I’d just picked ski halfpipe instead, the kids would have seen an American gold medalist in Maddie Bowman. Instead I chose the “sure thing.” Clearly I have much to learn about the Olympics. Blah.


Mini Blurbs


Canada can’t always win: In ski cross, the Americans were a no-show (again), and in the final were three Frenchmen and a lumberjack- er, Canadian. I think all Canadians should have plaid in their uniforms, and it’s a crime I only saw it in ski cross. Well, the French swept, and the Canadian was medal-less. Yay!


Sarah Burke’s memory: I had heard a lot about Sarah Burke in my viewing of the X Games this January, and NBC did a package on her. She was a huge supporter of getting freestyle skiing events in the Winter Olympics (she had done ski halfpipe in the X Games, which she also lobbied to get in that competition). Unfortunately, she died in practice two years ago. The fact that the entire ski and snowboard community still talks about her and has her name on various pieces of their paraphernalia is very inspiring.


Tonight Maddie Bowman - only 20 year old - won the inaugural women’s ski halfpipe, and she talked about Sarah in her post-event interview. It’s very sad she couldn’t be around to see this event today.


Biathlon outrage? Is it wrong that I’m peeved that the mixed biathlon relay was limited to about 20 minutes during Late Night coverage? I was pretty excited to see men and women working together, but the only thing they showed was the last group of men going around and shooting. It’s a new Winter Olympic event; I want to see more of it - even if it’s during the daytime coverage!


Today Bob Costas is reporting from… the planet Midnight. (the planet Midnight.)


Integration! We had some Fun With Math today. We had six word problems (one of them involved Yuna Kim, crazily enough), and then they had to fill in the missing medals in a medal chart from 2010.


We also watched the first six runs of men’s ski cross, and they began to form an outline for a Sequence of Events chart that they are going to finish tomorrow. I noticed that when they tried to do this for other things, they would overload at the beginning and put in way too much little stuff, not leaving enough room for the actual important points. I’m hoping that they can find the important points in their notes and give me a good Sequence.


Tomorrow is my last day of Olympics viewing. Pardon me if I don’t do too terribly much in the Integration! category. This has been fun, but tiring!


Your 2018 Ladies Figure Skating Champion: Yulia Lipnitskaya. I’m calling it now. Think about it: Yuna Kim, Mao Asada (such a sad performance), Carolina Kostner, and Ashley Wagner will not be back. There will be many new upstarts, but Yulia and Gracie Gold will have Olympic experience. That will be big!


Czech balance: This is actually from Wednesday, but I didn’t watch it till this morning: in the mixed biathlon relay, the Czech team won silver!


Bolero: This is my favorite classical piece of all time. I heard it live at Orchestra Hall by the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, and it was absolutely incredible. (It was also my first live orchestra performance, so it’s been very hard to top - though the Milwaukee Symphony’s version of Symphony No. 3 by Copland came veeeeeery close.)


But I digress - I don’t like it in figure skating. With all due respect to Torvill and Dean (and Carolina Kostner), it doesn’t sound good chopped up. The biggest effect of Bolero is that huge buildup. If you shove the buildup into four minutes, you don’t necessarily get the full effect.


Sorry - music nerd moment there.


Overhype, begone! Although it was a Russian, I was actually kind of pleased that Adelina Sotnikova won gold in figure skating, if only because no one was talking about her before or during these Games. Though I’m not sure her performance was eight points better than Kostner’s.


Today’s roundup: Mixed biathlon relay (from yesterday), women’s hockey (live), men’s ski cross, women’s ski halfpipe, women’s figure skating.


The Princess Jasmine line: Clearly Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis shop at the same figure skating store.


Wagner had a great performance - this was a heck of a free skate for many ladies - though I’m not sure Gracie Gold deserved to be in front of Wagner when Gold toppled over and Wagner stayed on her feet.


I have something fun planned for tomorrow’s Blurb. Enjoy the events!




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