I’ve had the luxury of a week off, and it has been tempting to just sit comfortably with the remote for hours on end and carousel around the NBCUniversal-owned channels. But I’ve also made a pact with my family that we must honor the Olympic Games by physically exerting ourselves each day. This agreement, and the basic need for food and fresh air, has forced me to repeatedly turn my back on the television and actually leave the house for some aerobic activity. I never actually turn the TV off, mind you. Even if no one is watching, the Olympics play on. One does not turn the art inwards to face the wall just because no one’s in the gallery. Despite the pact, however, I’ve still been able to thoroughly devour (or had the good fortune to at least walk in on) a number of noteworthy, sometimes confounding, and often educational moments during the first week. How about you?
First Saturday: Other than what must be compulsory deep breaths, the team archery competition is not an aerobic challenge, but more a test of composure. I learned that a match is divided into four quarters called “ends.” An end is two shots apiece, one at a time, for each team’s three members: a total of 24 launched arrows. In the semifinals, the youthful US upset three-time defending Olympic champ South Korea. The Americans then faced Italy in the finals. (Both teams are coached by South Koreans. Why are South Koreans so good at archery? Can it trace back through their Mongolian heritage?) The Italians appear like three lazy uncles at a bass fishing tournament– they are rotund, Van-Dyked, sunglassed, and wearing those floppy fishing caps that Ned Beatty sported with such panache in the movie Deliverance. (They certainly don’t seem to have made any kind of exercise pact.) Dressed thusly for Olympic success, the head uncle, with his team’s 24th and final arrow, strikes the circumferential line demarcating the 10-point circle–a line most people couldn’t even see at 70 meters. A bullseye, a one-point victory, and the gold. Casual clutch by the Italians. Lesson: Don’t judge an archer by his quiver. Sorry. I just had to say it.