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Saturday, September 30, 2000

The Games sure can wear a guy down

  SYDNEY -- Around 400 BC, women who wanted to watch the Olympics were pitched from the highest cliff.

 Fifteen days into these Olympics, I found myself wishing I was a Greek woman from 400 BC.

 That friends, is a telltale sign that someone has been covering the Olympics one day too long. There are, in fact, 25 signs, one for each of the Summer Games held since 1896.

 Here they are.

 1. You take cameras from tourists and snap their pictures ... without being asked.

 2. You realize Ray Charles doesn't sing the Georgian national anthem.

 3. You remember you have children. Tickled, you resolve to get them personalized mini-licence plates. You hit a snag. To get the correct spellings of their names, you must call home posing as an Aussie friend of their dad, who wants to mail each one of them a birthday present.

 4. It works.

 5. You can spell androstenedione without checking.

 6. It no longer strikes you as odd that there are only four available television stations. You find yourself planning your week around coming episodes of The Nanny.

 7. You don't give a damn if C.J . Hunter has inhaled helium and is now floating around the stadium -- you're not going to write about him any more.

 8. If someone beats you to a cab, you demand a urine test.

 9. You empty your pocket of metal objects whenever you go through a doorway.

 10. You are no longer surprised to see "Investigate Drug Scandal" and "Try Emu" at the top of your things-to-do list.

 11. If you stumbled upon a naked woman, you would think to yourself, "man, wouldn't she look good in one of those spandex field-hockey suits."

 12. You can't remember the words to O Canada, but can knock off the first four bars of the Latvian anthem.

 13. Your wife calls to tell you the kids want a pet. You suggest a wombat.

 14. You make fun of New Zealanders rather than Newfoundlanders.

 15. Cricket starts making sense. Baseball, now that's weird.

 16. You know longer gag when someone calls field hockey, hockey.

 17. When you see a busker, you don't tip him, you judge him.

 18. You continually hear the words, "I wouldn't have come unless I thought I could win a medal," even while you are alone in your hotel room.

 19. You fear if both feet leave the ground as you walk, an official will appear and wave a red card in your face. You know this is irrational, but you make sure your feet stay earthbound, just in case.

 20. You no longer look up when you hear a fanfare.

 21. A man steals your suitcase and races away. You wait for the replay.

 22. You no longer mock synchronized swimming.

 23. Your hotel room resembles your kid's bedrooms for all-out sloth. You find yourself wondering, "Gee, I wonder where I could get a black light and one of those far-out velvet posters of Jimi Hendrix."

 24. Your newest mantra is, "Don't tip your wife, don't tip your wife."

 25. On a whim, you decide to express your love for the missus with an engraved bracelet. Soon you are on the phone again, posing as an Australian.