My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Jul 31

The Olympics, Fencing 2012, and Loss

Category: Life,Opinions

I definitely wouldn’t call myself a sports “fan.” I can talk sports, I know who won what championship every year, I know the rules of the games, but I don’t regularly watch any of said games. I’d probably call myself a sports “follower,” I know what’s what. However, every two years, I watch sports for two weeks solid. The Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics, I’m down. I’m there for swimming in the Summer, downhill skiing in the Winter. I even watch, maybe especially watch, the obscure sports, like table-tennis, curling, fencing.

I think what I find so compelling about the Olympics is the intensity, the real gravity of what it is to win or lose. Most of these athletes don’t have major sponsorships, no million dollar shoe deals. Most Olympic athletes are simply totally dedicated to being the best at what they do, the world’s best ski-jumper, best skeet-shooter, best fencer. They dedicate everything to their craft, everything to one moment to prove that they really are the top of their game. Many train four years for a jump or a swim that’s over in under one minute. If that one minute goes badly, it’s another four years of sweat and bruises if they want to try again. People who win look over the noon, people who lose look crushed, completely broken.

I’ve mentioned fencing a few times because of a match I watched yesterday. A Lam Shin, from Korea, disputed whether or not her opponent’s final blow counted because of an inaccuracy in the match’s time-keeping. In short, she thought the clock should have run out before her opponent stabbed her in the face (guard). So, her coach filed a formal complaint, and she sat. Her opponent left, A Lam Shin sat, and paced, and wept. She did this for almost an hour total, until officials had to physically, gingerly, lead her away. Leaving means acknowledging the judges’ decision, which she definitely did not. She fought with everything she had because she couldn’t simply allow four years of work and sacrifice to come to nothing because a clock got its math wrong.

The judges ultimately sided with the busted clock, A Lam Shin has another four years of training ahead of her, if she’s able to make the investment again. She lost, it hurt. This is why to a non-sports fan the Olympics are so completely compelling.

8 comments

8 Comments so far

  1. John B July 31st, 2012 7:00 pm

    Spot on. Great writing and insight. Michael Phelps has something to smile about…

  2. Kate August 1st, 2012 1:41 am

    Great post. I really enjoy reading your stuff. If you have more to say about the Olympics as they progress, I would love it if you shared.
    🙂

  3. Veronica August 2nd, 2012 5:58 pm

    Well put!

    I relate. I’m careless about sports in general, but whenever there’s a big event like the Olympics, I watch nearly everything.

    I like Summer Olympics better than Winter Olympics though.

    We (well, Norway…) won a very surprising silver medal in fencing yesterday. I’ve never understood the rules and still don’t. Not fond of table tennis, but it’s hardly ever shown here. I am a fan of curling though!

    My current obsession is swimming. Very impressed by the American swimmers–Michael Phelps is a legend.

    I felt bad for A Lam Shin, I didn’t watch the match, but it was still heavily reported. The curse of life–not everyone can win.

  4. Tess August 6th, 2012 9:18 pm

    She lost, it hurt. That’s why it’s compelling? Knowing who “she” is, that sounds kinda spiteful.

  5. michael August 6th, 2012 9:39 pm

    Tess: OH MY FUCKING GOD! I DON’T WRITE EVERY POST SECRETLY ABOUT YOU! “SHE” ISN’T YOU! “SHE” IS A KOREAN FENCER! I FUCKED UP, I HURT YOU, IT WAS SHITTY, I DID SOMETHING LOW! Fuck it, I don’t care, don’t ever let it go. Keep posting these comments relating every post back to what I did to you, so you can make sure I NEVER forget, because you’ll NEVER forget.

  6. Tess August 12th, 2012 11:42 am

    OMFG! I NEVER thought SHE was ME.

  7. Tess August 12th, 2012 11:47 am

    I have forgotten what you did. I hardly think about it at all. I was not referring to myself, but whatever… I know it was really about this fencer losing. My comment was an attempt to make you realize that your statement could be a metaphor for your withholding from HER and finding HER loss and struggle compelling. I’m a wacko, so, we know that much.

  8. Tess August 12th, 2012 11:49 am

    No need to shout.

Leave your thoughts