Sports writer dreams of being an Olympian
If I quit my job at The Herald and devote the next four years of my life to an Olympic sport, which one would I have the best chance of qualifying to represent the United States at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro?
I'm sort of athletic. By "sort of athletic" I mean I can hit a slice shot with a tennis racket and occasionally when I throw a Frisbee it goes where I want it to go.
Basically, I was destined to represent this great country in the pinnacle of athletics.
I've watched numerous events during the 2012 London games, and been thoroughly entertained by most. I say most, because I just could not get into the equestrian events. I don't know what it is, but horse dancing just doesn't do it for me.
While watching, I've contemplated which of the 32 various sports I should take up, because writing isn't going to become an Olympic sport anytime soon.
Right off the bat I think we can eliminate the big ones: basketball, soccer, swimming, diving, volleyball (plus I'm not tan enough for beach volleyball), track and field, boxing, table tennis, gymnastics and, sadly, tennis -- my favorite sport to play. There are just too many people in the United States who have played these games their whole lives, and will be better at these sports than I could ever hope to be in just 1,460 days.
Then there are the events that, frankly, just seem too hard. This includes shooting, its cousin archery, water polo, its cousin field hockey, and anything ending in "-thlon." I'm just not a violent person, and I feel like you need to be angry at something -- or yourself -- to compete in any of these events.
That also eliminates judo and taekwondo. Judo was especially tough to throw out because in the Olympics there are two bronze medals given in each weight class. So mathematically, my best chance to get a medal would be in judo.
I can't remember if I've ever actually been in a fight, but if I was, I'm sure I lost.
I'm going to veto cycling for the simple reason that I have a car, so I no longer see a need to ride a bike for miles on end. I'm also nixing trampoline because I've already broken my ankle, and I see no reason to do that again.
Next I'm going to cut the events where I feel like I can't perform up to Olympic standards because of physical limitations. I'm 5-foot-8 and about 135 pounds. I'm going to assume that vacates my ability to be an Olympic rower. And there's no way I can consistently lift more than half my body weight, so there goes weightlifting.
I'm not from Lake Stevens, so wrestling is out the window. I'm also going to throw out canoeing and sailing because large bodies of water scare me. I recently learned how to swim, but I'm by no means capable of surviving should something go wrong in either of those events.
It's also important to remember that we're working on a journalist's salary here, and I'm pretty sure I can't afford a canoe.
That leaves three events I feel I could train for andpotentially make the 2016 U.S. squad. And yes, I'm typing that with a straight face. The first event is badminton. In gym class I always did really well at this. I could hit the birdie hard. Sometimes it even went where I aimed.
Plus, I could easily lose a match without even trying to. I'd fit right in.
I'm nowhere near an Olympic level, but that's what the next four years are for. However, badminton isn't my top choice. It's not even my second choice. That would be fencing.
Fencing seems like a really good choice. Basically you get to sword fight, which I've got to be honest, sounds like a lot of fun. I have never partaken in an actual duel, but I have won numerous family battles that involved those big tubes that they roll wrapping paper with.
I'm pretty sure the quest for a gold medal always begins with hitting your sister in the face with a cardboard tube, and subsequently being grounded for the rest of winter break.
That leaves just one sport. My best chance to get to the Olympics, and bring home the gold: handball.
I've watched several handball competitions at the 2012 London games, and I'm still not entirely sure how the game works. As far as I can tell there's a ball, there's a net and you want the two to meet. It's a team sport, which I prefer.
Here's the best part: America is notoriously terrible at handball. The U.S. didn't even come close to qualifying for the Olympics. That means if I could find a coach, focus my time, I could help America become a handball powerhouse while raising handball awareness all over the country.
Perhaps that new Seattle arena could even house a professional handball team. I should talk to Chris Hansen about that.
I've seen a couple shorter people play, but they were significantly stronger than me. I'll have to bulk up. I remember playing team handball in gym class at Marysville Junior High School and being decent at it. More importantly, I remember having a lot of fun.
There it is. My best chance at athletic glory. I get goosebumps now when I think about walking in the opening ceremony in Rio.
If you never see my name under another headline here in The Herald, it means I've completed the first step of my new lifelong dream of becoming an Olympic handball player. I'm working to make the best country in the world the gold standard for team handball.
I should have no problem with this plan. As you can see, I've thought this through.
David Krueger covers prep sports for The Herald (for now). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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