I love the Olympics because I don’t have to invest time following the participants’ form for months and years or really spend any more than the length of an event with them. The competition stands by itself and is fist-swallowingly exciting. Countries compete and individuals compete, dressed in increasingly alien-like clothes as they skate, slide or hurtle themselves through the air. (I just wonder if anybody’s pointed out the first 4 letters of the word “hurtle” to some of them) .
It’s amazing to watch the courage, skill and physical intelligence of the athletes at work (or play?), but most of all it’s thrilling to watch Chad Hendrick. Before his big performance yesterday, he seemed giggly, goofy, genial, frat-boyish, wholesome. Nice, but in no way sexy. Then, the most amazing transformation I’ve ever seen happen in one person took place. Honestly, I’m not talking this up for the sake of narrative; I’ve never seen such a marked and abrupt change in anyone’s face like that before. His formerly rosy, round visage seemed to become lean, grey and hungry. He looked driven and hard-eyed, like some primitive being, fuelled by testosterone and raw competition. God, it was sexy!
The whole “hooyah!”, roaring sportsman thing doesn’t always do it for me; it depends on the sportsman, and, usually, I prefer a sportsman to be gentlemanly too. Having said that, and, while I think that off-ice Hedrick is good-looking enough, on ice he is a mean, dangerous God, oozing sex appeal in a way that should, given its hothothotness, melt the rink around him. He looks like he’s been cut straight out of the raw material called Competitive Spirit (I think nowadays we call it “lycra”) back when the world was forming and plonked down in Turin to give us all a good look at Man’s Ambition. Here it is folks! Uncut and unmodified: Human Determination.
It’s frightening and fascinating but mostly it’s deeply, deeply sexy. And then he comes off ice for his post-victory media bit, and he’s back to being good ole Chad, bit dopey-sounding and less dangerous than a mittened kitten. It’s very unsettling for this particular housewife, let me tell you.
Next, the Russian skaters came on in the pairs, short program competition and stunned everyone with their spangle-costumed poetry. It was beautiful and flawless and highly DVD-burnable so I did just that, to hide away and look at whenever I’m feeling jaded and fed-up. Or to show the girls when they’re cranky and I’ve run out of tricks and patience.
I’m conservative by nature (small c, for the Brits, or “not a Tory”) and like to have a reserve, a held-back cache of tricks, collected in times of peace, to knock my children out of whatever over-tired funk or won’t-play-nicely mood they might be in.
If my language sounds militaristic, it’s meant to, because, make no mistake, it is a war. The Guidelines (there are no Rules; these children recognise no government or institutions) of Engagement are as follows: Head-on battles of will should be avoided because, frankly, we adults have neither the stamina nor stomach for them. We have tiny, formidable foes with all the live-long day to hold out. We have stuff that needs to be done and they know it so will try and wait us out. They have their pink wee hands on our parental-self-doubt buttons and our heart-strings entwined firmly around their little fingers so we (I like to think we’re The Goodies) have to engage smartly. We have to have an arsenal, think on our feet and cynically use our height to our advantage. The height that enables us to reach the DVD Play button, launch a sneak psychological attack and flummox our children with beautiful ice-dancing. Ha! Beauty! They didn’t see that one coming. Mwahahahahahaha! Wait, we are The Goodies, right?
So you can see how one just one night’s super-competitive+Olympic+Chad Hedrick vibe has brought out the crack commando mummy in me. Perhaps it’s done so nation-wide, or even world-wide. Maybe it should come with a caution: “The following sports broadcast may contain scenes of an influencing nature, particularly to impressionable housewives. Viewer discretion is advised”.