The Olympic sports I most enjoy…

… don’t have to be played by the physically uncommon person.

Ahhhh, the Olympics. I enjoy watching the sports which we hardly ever get to see on the telly, specially those which you don’t have to be 7′ tall to play.

For example,…

Field Hockey

Really rough sport!  That ball looks like a big golf ball and a very hard one at that.  It doesn’t look like they have a lot of pads.

Did you know that a badminton shuttle is partly made of goat skin?

Ping pong… er um.. table tennis.  I used to enjoy playing this.

Team Handball… another sport I enjoyed in high school.

Fencing… here, Sabre, which was my weapon (along with Épée) when I fenced for several years.

The zen-like 10m Air Pistol.

Archery. Intense.

And let us not forget Water Polo!

I usually pick a less common sport to follow closely.  For example, during the Winter Olympics I enjoy following Curling.

What to follow?


Whom to follow?

Perhaps Field Hockey? No offsides. I need a team sport, which will have a long process of eliminations. Handball?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. acardnal says:

    Has anyone noticed the Olympic-centered TV commercials?
    I think this commercial reminds us all that we are not only sinners but also stupid humans.

    [And right out of the blocks this turns into a different topic.]

  2. yatzer says:

    There was a brief scene of a one-armed women’s ping pong player. I would have liked to see more of that. Women’s gymnastics was interesting; men’s water polo difficult to follow–they were all submerged. Yay for curling!

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    The strength and agility of the men’s gymnastics was incredible to watch. They defy gravity. To see someone raise their body weight up over their head by their arms…wow. They’re like, superheroes!

  4. APX says:

    Nothing says “Small Town Saskatchewan” like curling. I have yet to drive through or past a small town that doesn’t have, at minimum, a two-sheet curling rink. The town may not have a grocery store or gas station, but it has a curling rink. If you don’t know how to curl, you’re a lonely person who won’t have a social life.

    I ditto the “yay for curling”.

    I am also a fan of playing water polo and miss it quite much.

  5. Andy Lucy says:

    Watching fencing is my release every four years. However, watching an Egyptian fencer mess his knee up today brought back many a painful memory from competing while at university.

    In the winter, I enjoy watching biathlon and curling.

  6. Precentrix says:

    Field hockey is commonly taught in British schools. Like that, with the same kind of ball and no pads. Played by girls – the boys get rugby which is like American ‘football’ with no stopping and no pads either. Actually, I suspect hockey as played by thirteen year old girls is only outstripped as the most violent sport known to man by lacrosse played by girls of the same age…

  7. sepryor says:

    Did you notice how the brits complained the world cyclist ganged up against to prevent them from winning the Gold? Poor babies. Could it have actually been a break away was allowed to escape from the main field and they couldn’t catch them?

  8. Matt R says:

    I’d like to try field hockey, rowing, handball, and water polo.
    Also, Fr Joe Fitzgerald of the Diocese of Rockville Centre was on the USA handball team that placed 10th in 1996. That’s the highest American finish ever.

  9. Matt R says:

    Also, I play rugby & can’t wait until it returns in 2016.

  10. AnAmericanMother says:

    Equestrian. Three Day Event.

    The Olympic 3-Day cross-country course from the 1996 Olympics is not far from us. Our trainer organized a field day/trail ride on the course. We trotted all around, trying to find something small enough to negotiate so that we could honestly say that “we trained on the Olympic course”. No dice. My bold little Thoroughbred mare (since retired) who would jump anything I pointed her at, turned her head around and looked at me as if to say, “If you’re going over that, you’re going over alone, sweetheart!” Even the brush jumps on the steeplechase course would make you open your eyes and edge in the general direction of away.

    Those people are totally, completely crazy. But I really enjoy watching the best of the best.

  11. Jane says:

    Sports are pretty boring, however some of the gymnastics look graceful. The best part of the games in London was Paul’s singing of his song Jude. [?!?] I considered the Sydney Oympics to be an interuption to my life, and I suspect that there are some people in London, who wish it to go away also.

    Fr. Z's Sour Grapes Award

  12. Random Friar says:

    How can I look at those sports — who picked the color scheme for these arenas? It takes me back to the days of 8-bit color on computers.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I love that the 2nd US gold medal in this Olympics was a middle-aged skeet shooter lady. She didn’t look like a bodybuilder, a supermodel coated with makeup and endorsement gear, or anybody except a mom from next door. But she’s got the eye-hand coordination to beat the world, and you could see her whispering our anthem. Let’s hear it for Kim Rhode! 5 medals in 5 Olympics!

    (Ironically, it looks like NBC’s website photos have undergone either a lot of Photoshop, or somebody did a quick post-ceremony makeup job on the lady.)

    Also, it looked like the UK soldiers doing the flagraising at the medal ceremony were being Extremely Squared Away in honor of the shooting medals!

  14. OrthodoxChick says:

    The sport that I like watching is not really an unfamiliar one. I like watching the platform divers. I don’t know how they do it.

    Many years ago as a grade-school aged child, we lived close to Brown University and Brown used to run a multi sports camp in the summer during which, kids could sample these less common sports. My parents sent me to this camp one year. I remember sampling water polo only to learn that dunking is a normal way to steal the ball. I was held under during a dunk a little too long for my liking. So ended a not-so-promising career in that sport.

    Brown also has an olympic sized pool and a platform diving board (among other sizes of regulation olympic diving boards too). When the long-awaited day finally arrived and it was time for our group of excited kids to jump (not dive) off of the platform, I watched a few campers go for it. Most chickened out. Then came my turn. Climbing up the ladder just to reach the platform felt like climbing a skyscraper, until I finally made it to the top. Then, in an instant, I KNEW I was standing on a skyscraper. It only took a peek down to the water far, far below and less than a nano second for me to decide that no part of my body was leaving that platform by any means other than that perfectly good ladder that had gotten me there in the first place.

    To this day, I marvel at how anyone can do twists and flips off that monstering tower of concrete and not kill themselves or toss their cookies. Now THAT’S a sport!

  15. Joe in Canada says:

    definitely curling. Maybe you’re secretly Canadian, Father Z? [I am openly a Minnesotan.]
    I hadn’t thought of platform diving, but yes that is exciting.

    How about sports that are waiting to be invented yet, Father? Like, say, a combination of synchronised diving and archery. [Ooooo… good one. How about Discus and Skeet Shooting.]

  16. john_6_fan says:

    I enjoy watching curling during the winter games. Definitely a regular joe kind of sport. Watching the Phelps run in 2008 was great. I remember jumping and screaming for his last few medal races. This Olympics, the swimming seems to have a negativity about it with media generated internal rivalries on team USA. I saw a bit of archery this year. It appears the archers removed their HD antennas from their roofs and strung them up as bows!

    I am a cycling fan in general. The Olympics changes the dynamics somewhat as normal sponsor team alliances are broken up with cyclists teaming up with their countrymen. The men’s road race finish was great! The women’s road race was rain soaked, which added some tension, but the finish wasn’t quite as good. I was hoping the British girl would take gold, but she came in second.

  17. I love watching USA Olympic basketball, myself :) I have a felling we’re going to win the gold medal this year.

  18. APX says:

    The amazing thing about curling is your average Joe who sells computers down at the computer store, who curls competitively on the side, can, and often does, at the least ends up at the Olympics and often comes home with a medal. I don’t know of any other Olympic sport that is like that.

  19. Peggy R says:

    We’ve haven’t watched much. We did see gymnastics and hated the fuscia/pink background of that arena. We first thought there was a color problem with the tele.

  20. Christopher says:

    ‘Did you know that a badminton shuttle is partly made of goat skin?’

    I take it PETA are boycotting then?

    Fencing and Archery, it’s a shame they aren’t as mainstream.

    God Bless.

  21. Darren says:

    I don’t watch the summer olympics at all.

    Re: Random Friar says:
    How can I look at those sports — who picked the color scheme for these arenas? It takes me back to the days of 8-bit color on computers.

    I know! What’s with the blue and purple?!?!?!?!?!?!

    I do like the curling in the winter olympics. I’ll watch ice hockey if team USA get to the gold medal game, but I do find the winter olympics an annoying intrusion into the NHL schedule.

    Overall, I dont’ care for the olympics at all.

    Agreeing with those sour grapes ;) I would not be happy if the olympics were held in New York City or Phildelphia. Too much mania close to home. I feel for those Londoners who are living out of town for two weeks to get away from it all.

  22. robtbrown says:

    I’ll watch every swimming and diving event I can see.

  23. Synchronized swimming and diving! So beautiful to watch. Also rhythmic gymnastics and the equestrian events. I’m afraid I’m a bit of an Olympics addict – if I’m not working, I’m glued to the tv. I think it scares my family…
    I got into curling at the last winter Olympics when for some reason they were showing it a LOT and I was down with a cold. Can’t wait to see more of it in two years!

  24. Giuseppe says:

    I love Curling! The Simpsons had a hilarious episode about the introduction of ‘mixed curling’ into the next Olympics. Of course, Homer and Marge excelled, as it combined Homer’s skill of bowling with Marge’s skill of sweeping!

    I enjoyed Water Polo yesterday. I also am a fan of Synchronized Swimming. When it was first introduced in the 80s, I thought it was a joke, but it really is a fun sport. I love the underwater cameras in SS — the amount of energy expended to appear still on the surface is astonishing. I’d like to see underwater cameras in Water Polo — those guys are vicious, and I think we only see a fraction of the brutal contact that must occur when they are in the red-to-green zones.

  25. Cafeam Fruor says:

    I like watching almost all of it — the only stuff I don’t like is when they have professionals playing (e.g. basketball) when it really should be amateurs. That seems to defeat the whole spirit of the Olympics. Admittedly, I find the winter sports are more fun to watch (hello, biathlon!), but I like the summer sports, too.

    The skills and talents the athletes have are astounding. I was always one of the physically inept kids in school because I have horrible balance, no binocular depth perception (i.e. I don’t quite see 3D), no stamina for running whatsoever, and I could never jump higher than about 6″. I was a phys. ed. flunkie. I can pull a 4.0 gpa without really trying, but I can’t catch a ball to save my life, nor could I ever do a cartwheel. And even though I’ve had swimming lessons, I simply can’t do anything more than a doggie paddle. The only Olympic sports I could even hope to doing myself would be those with boats (rowing, kayaking, canoeing), since I do those for leisure, but even then, I’m pathetically weak. So the Olympics are always a great reminder that God has blessed each of us with different talents, and it’s always impressive to watch these talented folks do their thing.

  26. Cathy says:

    I had never heard of curling until a few years back when a newly ordained priest came to serve at our parish for the summer, he had been an Olympic curling hopeful just prior to entering the seminary.

  27. Mary Jane says:

    Swimming and diving! Like the gymnastics routines as well.

  28. irishgirl says:

    I like the swimming events (I yelled my head off in 2008 when Michael Phelps won his races) and the gymnastics. I also like track and field. And I do like the more obscure sports, because there’s always the possibility of an upset-underdogs rule!
    But I’m not able to watch any of the Olympics because I don’t have a functioning TV (not connected to cable), and the one in the ‘social room’ of the apartment building I now live in is not open after 8:00 pm.
    I found that out the hard way on Friday while watching the opening ceremonies. I had to go upstairs to my apartment to go to the bathroom (should have done so earlier), and when I came back down, I couldn’t get back into the room.
    So I guess I’ll have to content myself with hearing the basketball games on the radio, as well as hearing the medal results or reading them online.
    I don’t have internet in the apartment house, and my use of it is restricted to library hours.

  29. ejcmartin says:

    I read a report this morning that the captain of the British women’s field hockey team had her jaw broken during a game. I used to watch my sister play when she was in high school and college and knew it was rough but…

  30. StJude says:

    I love it all.

    I will sit every night until late watching everything. I love hearing the stories behind the competitors… I love seeing the parents of them in the crowd so nervous and so happy.
    I am all for Team USA but I am rooting for the 39 year old Bulgarian rings gymnast.. and I cheered for the South African who broke the world record in swimming and won gold. The look on his face was priceless.
    God bless them all.

  31. Mariana says:

    Three Day Eventing and all gymnastics here!

  32. Mariana says:

    “How about sports that are waiting to be invented yet, Father? Like, say, a combination of synchronised diving and archery….”

    My husband has long advocated team ski jumping cum archery : ) ! You ski down the slope, take off, and shoot at a target!

  33. Bruce says:

    Handball & Badminton! Fr. Z this post brought back wonderful memories of playing these sports as a teenager during the 70’s at a military base in northern Quebec.

    My favourite sport to watch during the Olympics is Judo. (I was a brown belt as a teenager)

    All three of these sports helped my development as a Hockey player, handball and badminton for hand eye co-ordination and Judo for lower body strength.

    Another wonderful childhood memory was watching the Olympics and Hockey Night in Canada with my father ( may he rest in peace) during the 70’s.

  34. NoraLee9 says:

    Catching up on the blog here. I was fortunate enough to stop by an actual Irish Tavern on Monday and get one of those fruity concoctions. I was waiting for hubby to get off of the 7 train. I was able to catch the Women’s American Water Polo Team. What a gas. If I weren’t a crippled middle aged woman, there’s a sport I would want to learn. I was surprised to see how far out of the water these gals were able to propel themselves, given the fact that they were in way over their heads!

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