Growing up, we weren’t allowed to watch much t.v. Because of it, I don’t understand the lure of Friends, nor will I ever be able to get into Full House or the spinoff on Netflix. I know only of Disney channel from sleepovers at friends’ houses, where I’d stay up all night watching the glowing blue screen in awe. The one thing we were allowed to watch was the Olympics. Every two years our t.v. would be allowed to stay on all day and late into the night so we could keep up with all the action.
When I was five, Tara Lipinksi would win figure skating gold at 15. That year we were re-doing our hardwood floors on the main level of our house. Meaning, we spent most dinners on the floor eating off of paper plates. This also meant our large t.v. had been stored away and instead we watched the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics on the floor in front of a tiny square box t.v. I fell in love with figure skating immediately. I was so obsessed that my parents went as far as to buy me my own skates and lessons. That lasted all of a month. Figure skating glory was not in my uncoordinated future.
I stuck to watching Lipinski twirl on the ice, enamored with her delicate costumes and amazing grace. If I couldn’t be her, I could have everything related to her. My Tara Lipinski Barbie quickly became my favorite thing. With two plastic handles on either side of her waist, you could grab a Ken doll, or any other doll, slip their hands into the rings and wind Tara up. She’d spin and spin and spin until she’d surely gained the gold medal.
The worst day of my five year old life came days later. I was minding my own business, watching the Olympics in our living room, unaware that poor Tara Barbie’s life was being ruined in our basement. My brother and his wicked friend had gotten a hold of her, and chopped her hair straight off. Her beautiful long hair that I had fashioned into my best attempt at a bun was gone, scattered across our beige carpeting. He still has not been forgiven for that act of terror to this day.Nowadays, the Olympics fills me with the same feelings but I also understand the pride even more.
In high school, I took up rowing. It was my refuge from my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and so much more. I was never the best on the team, but I loved it all the same. My best friend was far more successful in her rowing career, becoming a prominent coxswain to a prestigious college rowing team.
Turns out, in 2016 two members from our humble high school team would go to the Rio Summer Olympics and compete in the men’s eight. Even though they wouldn’t have known me from Adam, the pride I felt for our American team swelled in size just by knowing the work they’d put into such an amazing dream.The opening ceremony is one of my favorite parts. Aside from seeing all of the wonderfully designed outfits, I love seeing the joy on the people’s faces. They are all so genuinely tickled to be there. There is no single fame on that carpet, they are all there together, just trying to make it to gold.
Just like everyone else, I love the stories the Olympics tell. The 2016 Rio refugee team made me cry giant, hot tears. So amazed that amongst such strife in their home countries these athletes had a place to be recognized. I rooted them on through each event.
To see women competing for countries that have never allowed women to compete before also strikes a chord. How amazing to see these people gain a right that they should never have been denied. How loudly I root for them to win and prove just how valuable women are.
This year, I cannot wait to hear the stories the anchors tell of each Olympic hopeful. I’ll be rooting right along with the sob stories, hoping they get their glory.
I’ll also probably be questioning how quickly I can get into Olympic shape. Something about those amazing athletes makes you want to be apart of it all. Then I remember I really like my free time. And relaxing. And French Fries. Maybe I’ll stick to rooting them on from the comfort of my home.
My lack of physical talent, but love of the Olympics is what inspired my latest round of free custom wine bottle labels.
After all, we all need a little extra Olympics magic in our homes right about now.
These labels are super simple to use, download them to your computer, and print. I print mine on label paper for ease, but have also been known to use plain paper or cardstock. Remove the previous label with some elbow grease and soapy water, or else, make sure to pick wine that has labels small enough to cover with your new-and-improved labels.
If you use these labels in your Olympic celebrations tag me on Instagram @Ohlalaali – I love seeing how you use my creations in your life!
Go for the gold friends, happy Olympics!