so today . . . i was watching the olympics and they started talking about apollo ohno. hey, i thought, i recognize that name. but i couldn't remember why or what sport he competed in. and then it hit me . . .
dancing with the stars. he competed on dancing with the stars a couple of years ago. and won.
when i was growing up, i was familiar with all the winter sports athletes--skiers, ice skaters, (i would also say snow boarders, but it hadn't been invented yet!) and speed skaters. we would come in after a full day of skiing and collapse in front of the fire and watch "wide world of sports" on tv. because after a full day of skiing, and walking all the way back to the cabin from the ski resort, in our ski boots, carrying our skis and poles (except for my mom, because my dad would always carry her skis,) that is all we would have the energy to do. well, that and eating chili or bean soup.
but now i rarely watch wide world of sports. i don't even know if it is on every saturday afternoon any more or not. i don't remember ever consciously deciding not to watch it--i think i just associate it with a day of skiing. and since i don't ski much anymore . . .
thankfully, in this olympic year, dancing with the stars seems to be filling that void left by my lack of wide world of sports. a couple of days ago when i was watching snowboarders jump and flip on the half pipe, i saw a familiar face--louis vito. when i tuned in he was in fourth place, but i immediately started cheering for him to win. sadly he did not win an olympic medal--or dancing with the stars. perhaps competing in both was just too much . . .
i find that i enjoy watching sports a lot more if i feel like i "know" someone who is competing. i'm probably not the only one who feels this way, which may explain why all those athletes agree to possibly look ridiculous on dancing with the stars. and if name recognition and popularity is important (which it is if you want nike to ask you to make a commercial,) there may be no better way to do it than to learn to dance. on tv. with an awesomely cute and talented partner. and three mouthy, opinionated judges. and millions of viewers, hopefully cheering you on.
apparently it works. because during the super bowl when they were tossing the coin or something, i recognized two more sports figures. (actually, i'm not really sure what they were doing. i don't really watch the super bowl--i hang out, eat snacks, and pause to watch the commercials or listen to the music at half time . . . the game is just sort of an excuse to go to a party . . . ) there were some guys standing in the middle of the field, and two of them were jerry rice and emmitt smith--neither of whom i had heard of before dancing with the stars. but now i know that they played football, and apparently were rivals, and emmitt can dance, while jerry? not so much . . .
which is why i am sitting up at 11:30 on a saturday night, when i have to get up early for band rehearsal in the morning. because i need to know if apollo is going to win a medal in speed skating.
yeah, i call him by his first name--i "know" him. i cheered him on to his win on dancing with the stars. and i'm sure he appreciated it . . .