We’re now into events that I have an easier time imagining myself competing in– at least in a dream. 🙂 In this part of the list, the event as a whole might seem fun, but there’s usually one or two things about it that give me pause.
20. Field events
Another big category lumped together. Basically, you have jumping (the long jump, triple jump, high jump, and pole vault) and throwing (the shot put, discus, javelin, and hammer).
I’ve never been terribly interested in these events, but I like the simplicity of just seeing who can jump the farthest or the highest. I used to try to see how far I could jump with a running start when I was a kid (and much more flexible). I liked the feeling of spinning around, too, so I was always entertained by the way athletes use centrifugal force to throw the discus and hammer.
I like the idea of trying it once or twice (carefully) to see how it feels to try to throw something so heavy, but I wouldn’t expect to throw anything very far. I’d probably be able to retrieve my shot put throw without having to take more than one step, for instance.
Also, there’s no way anyone would get me to try a pole vault.
19. Road cycling
I used to ride my bike a lot with my Dad when I lived in Pennsylvania, and I usually really enjoyed it. But I liked riding in my neighborhood, or on trails. My least favorite place to ride was along a highway. Even if there wasn’t traffic, the view is so monotonous. And if you happen to be going uphill, even if the incline is just a couple of degrees, it seems to lake forever.
So out of the bicycle events, road cycling is the one I have the hardest time imagining myself doing.
18. Beach Volleyball
I think I would be more likely to try beach volleyball than indoor volleyball. For one thing, the court is smaller and there are only two players on each team, so it would be easier to tell when it was my turn to hit the ball. For another thing, I think it would hurt less to dive onto sand than it would to dive onto a hard floor.
I don’t think I’d be very good at it, but getting to play on the beach would make it feel more like a vacation.
Tennis is fun to play. It’s very satisfying when you feel the twang of the racquet connecting with the ball. Mostly because it’s something that so rarely happens when I play it.
I’ve never played golf (aside from miniature golf), and I’m not really a huge fan of it, but it seems like it would be one of the easier sports to pick up because you aren’t timed; you can just walk or ride a cart to the next hole. Not that it doesn’t require skill and athletic ability to get the ball to go where it’s supposed to.
I went to a gymnastics classes for a little while when I was little. It was really fun learning to do forward somersaults and cartwheels! For some reason, though, one of my favorite things about the gymnasium was the balance beam. It even became a comforting part of my routine at recess to walk along the wooden border of the playground area as if it were a balance beam and try to keep my balance without stepping on the ground on either side.
Unfortunately, only women compete on the balance beam at the Olympics; men have the rings instead, which I was never able to do anything with– I wasn’t strong enough to pull myself up with just my arms. But it would be amazing to be able to do a vault or a parallel bars routine.
Gymnastics takes a lot of strength, for both men and women. There are a couple of sensory issues that I think would make it challenging for me. One is the fact that athletes have to perform while other competitors are doing different routines elsewhere in the gym. I think it would be hard to tune out all of the noise the audience makes. The other is the chalk– I can’t stand the feeling of chalk dust on my hands. Maybe it’s possible to get used to it.
I love the way the gymnasts put together their floor routines, though. It’s too bad men don’t get to use music for theirs. I think it would be cool for someone to use heavy metal for his floor routine. Or maybe music from an epic soundtrack like Lord of the Rings.
Fencing is an interesting event to watch. I like how the competition is held in a room where the only light is on the playing area, so the fencers stand out against a pitch-black background.
I can’t say I understand much about how it works, though. The scoring is handled automatically by sensors that turn on lights when a fencer scores a touch, but there seem to be a lot of conditions that can cause a point not to count.
It looks like it might be interesting to try, though it might trip another of my sensory issues, which is an extreme aversion to the idea of anything being pointed toward my eye. I know that the mask protects against that, but my fear of something poking my eye is not rational; I can even be bothered by something like a long plank sticking off the back of a pickup truck ahead of me on the road!
I’ve enjoyed swimming since I was little. I mentioned that I took lessons to learn to swim and dive, but I also continued to learn more as I got older. I was really interested in the fact that there are several different strokes that swimmers can use.
I had a book that explained step by step how to do all four of the traditional swimming strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. When we went on vacation somewhere with a pool, I tried them all, though I think I only really learned the first two well enough to do them without the book’s help.
I don’t think I’d ever be as fast as Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky, but the neat thing about swimming is that everybody has their own lane, so you don’t have to pay attention to what the other swimmers are doing; you can just keep racing against your own best times.
Actually, I left out my favorite thing about gymnastics class earlier. That was, of course, the trampoline. I loved bouncing again and again, moving from a standing position to kneeling to sitting and back while in the air. I felt like I could have spent hours bouncing up and down.
The issue with trampolines, though, is that, much like diving, it only takes one mistake to end up with a really nasty injury. A lot of kids get hurt because of accidents on backyard trampolines, and I’m sure that gymnasts have to be incredibly careful every single time they practice the flips and spins for their routines.
11. Mountain biking
My Dad and I used to go mountain biking on trails in Pennsylvania parks. It could be tiring, but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the variety in terms of all the things the trail would do– sometimes you had a flat path for a while, then you had a gentle slope downward where you could coast, then a steep hill where you had to get off and walk, then an area criss-crossed with tree roots that make it easier find good traction, then a bumpy field of rocks, and so on. Sometimes we’d get to see wildlife, and we were able to explore more of the trail than we could have on foot.
I think it’s neat that mountain biking has become an Olympic event, though the artificial courses they create look a lot more challenging than any of the trails my Dad and I rode on. It would be a lot different trying to complete a mountain bike course as quickly as possible, too. But it looks like fun.
Just one more post to go. Stay tuned for my top ten!