Hand ball. Water polo. Archery. Badminton.
This is the first year I've seen any of these sports during television coverage of the Olympics. Not the most-watched, these usually get televised during the day, and until this year - retirement, you know - I've never watched Olympics during the day.
Now it seems somebody glued my behind to the chair, giving me enough rope to hit the kitchen and the little girls' room before pulling me back.
Granted, I've fallen asleep several times, but the excitement of an announcer watching something great usually wakes me and I at least see a rerun of the feat. I rather like it that way since that way everything's wonderful when I see it. If it's not so good and the announcer not so loud, I sleep right through.
This year I also watched the entry parade of opening night ceremonies. Even before the announcers said "look at their faces," I said "look at their faces." It's a good bet you're never again going to see that many happy people in one place. And in national costumes, to boot.
There's a reason I watched. It was the Olympics, of course, but I've never watched the opening ceremonies before. This year I wanted to see a classmate of mine in the parade - or try to see him. I couldn't. In that mass of teeth and bright eyes, it was impossible to pick out a man I hadn't seen in more than 30 years.
I tried to talk myself into believing I saw him, but the next day we found out he hadn't even walked in the parade. Coaches and managers weren't allowed to walk since it was expected to take so long as it was.
The we of "we found out" was a small group of classmates who congregated in my house to watch the ceremonies. The idea originated with Polly Shortenhaus Schoeman. Ever the cheerleader, she thought it would be fun to get together to watch. She may have figured our eyes are getting so old, the more of them looking would give us a better shot at seeing. Or something like that.
Polly and Kay Legvold Marotz drove down that Friday from the Twin Cities area. Mary Voigt Halverson, also from the Cities, had been here for several days already, making this more fun than it had a right to be. Sandi Jacobson Butt drove over from Ackley with her husband, Ken, and Kathy Tjornehoj came up from Story City. A small group, yes, but the makings of a fun party.
We wanted to see our classmate Ken Brauman, manager of the track and field team, and had still cameras and video cameras trained on the television. Well, they would have been still cameras if we hadn't been laughing so much. It's just hard to keep a camera still when your whole body shakes.
I'm thinking of having a classmates party next year and calling it something Olympian, just for the ambiance. What it will really be is a way to gather old friends for a bit of fun.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.