Every two years, the Olympics offer a spectacular chance to watch a lot of television and not feel particularly guilty about it. We could spend every waking moment of a gloriously extended fortnight getting caught up in the drama of pure competition and listening to the stories of dedicated athletes. We love that the Games deliver a community feeling – not just water-cooler conversation, but something larger. Maybe it’s just watching an athlete’s face while his or her national anthem is being played, or feeling intense disappointment when an athlete we have been rooting for doesn’t make it to the podium. The contrast between the formality of the ceremonies, and the rawness of emotion in each race that gives us goosebumps.
How to Watch: TV is the ideal medium for the Games, so cozying up to your telly between now and August 12 looks like a great way to pass these midsummer nights…unless you are headed to London! Women’s soccer starts tonight (7/25) and the Opening Ceremonies are on Friday (7/27). Here’s a helpful blog article from NPR on how to keep up. We like NBC’s London 2012 Live Extra app because you can register your zip code and find stories about local athletes.
Talking Points: There are so many stories behind the games, that it is easy to open up a conversation with kids of any age about the hard work and dedication necessary to make it to the pinnacle of a sport. Most likely, your younger kids have won medals from AYSO or Little League, and even middle schoolers can remember back to when getting them placed around their neck was a real thrill. Imagine having that honor after the years of training that an Olympian undergoes — and imagine the emotions of not medaling after just as long a journey.
Our kids have gone to high school with two different kids who are likely Olympians sometime in the next four years, so we’ve had a ringside seat to the early morning practices, slew of tournaments and coaches, and incredible traveling that this level of training demands. After keeping pace on the athletic field for many years, it’s pretty cool to watch a few select athletes rise to the next level. The separation of the best from the very, very good may be a razor’s edge (or a millisecond) at the Olympic games themselves, but we know firsthand (okay… second hand!) how arduous the journey to London has been for the thousands of athletes who will be competing.
Athletes from So Cal: Here is a list of athletes from Southern California.
Athletes to Watch: We like this NBC’s photo gallery of athletes to watch this year.
There’s an app for that: Keep up with schedules and scores on your smart phone with NBC’s London 2012 LiveExtra.