I’ve enjoyed the Summer Olympics immensely. The only frustration is the five-hour time difference between Toronto and London. The majority of my TV viewing is at night, so that means most of what I see is on tape. Already knowing the results takes some of the fun out of it. When it comes to sports, live is king.
The weekends give me the opportunity to watch during the day, of course, but who the heck wants to stay inside with this unbelievable weather?
Ah, that’s where viewing ingenuity comes into play. There is a way to catch the Olympics when you’d rather be out soaking up the rays. Every convenience store seems to have a TV set these days and the Games have been blaring away inside since the opening ceremonies.
So I tailor my morning strolls around them. Every mile or so, I just pop into a store for an update.
On the civic holiday, Monday, the timing worked out perfectly. Gymnastics is one of my favourite Olympic events and in the first store I entered, the men’s rings was just beginning. The lady behind the counter was riveted to her set, smiling away as she looked on and then suddenly let out a huge groan.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Good form, great execution, but he didn’t stick the landing,” she sighed.
Oh, well. It happens. I watched with her for a bit, bid her adieu and 20 minutes later checked out another store that also had on the men’s rings. The guy working there was gazing excitedly at his TV and then shook his head.
“Good form, great execution, but he didn’t stick the landing,” he lamented.
Too bad. I continued my journey and in the subsequent store the women’s uneven bars was now centre stage. The man operating the cash register was cheering away as I walked in and then he threw up his hands.
“Good form, great execution, but she didn’t stick the landing,” he moaned.
Hmm. Not sticking the landing appeared to be contagious. So I crossed the street to try and change my luck. Women’s uneven bars was on in the next store, too. As I came in, the cashier was just turning her back to the screen in dismay.
“Great form, great execution, but she didn’t stick the landing,” she moaned.
So much for that idea. I didn’t like the way this was going, so I decided to walk the last four miles non-stop, drop in to the convenience store around the corner from my place, catch the beginning of the men’s vault and then call it a morning.
As I was about to step inside, the store owner came out from behind the counter mumbling, “Good form, great execution, but he didn’t stick the landing.”
I was feeling like a real jinx at this point, so I told her I had to go. She escorted me to the door and at that precise moment two kids racing each other on skateboards came flying by heading straight at me.
I nimbly sidestepped the first, twisted gracefully to avoid the next, cart-wheeled over a poodle and did a somersault onto the top of a recycling bin.
“Unbelievable form, fantastic execution and you really, really stuck the landing,” the store owner shouted with glee, then hugged me and handed me a bouquet.
A crowd that had gathered applauded wildly. The kids on the skateboards and the poodle serenaded me with O Canada. And Stephen Harper and Justin Bieber both sent me Tweets as I waved and blew kisses to all.
OK, OK. So, I got a little carried away. I am exaggerating, just a tad.
Truth be told? I’m still waiting to hear from the Biebs.