I love the fact that, every two years (alternating summer and winter games) I get the chance to really delve deeply into a sport I’ve never heard of, something odd, and start rooting for things of which I know nothing.
That is, every Winter and Summer Olympics, I like to adopt a strange — to me — sport and just go to town watching them. A few Olympics ago, I glommed onto beach volleyball. And not just because of the wonderfully skimpy suits the ladies wear.
This year in the Summer Olympics, I’ve started following two sports: team handball and table tennis.
I thought I’d never get interested in table tennis, but I got sucked in when I sat and watched for a few minutes. I think the thing that’s so compelling is that I’ve played this game. I’ve played against some people who I considered to be very good.
Those good players I went up against? They’d be left gibbering wrecks by the first serve these men and women used. It’s like the biggest fake-out of all time, every single serve. They’ll make it look like they’re going for the kill and then just plonk the ball over the net. I guess the idea is that, eventually, the opponent will start reacting too quickly to the plonk and not be ready for the smashing ace.
And these dudes and dudettes have an amazing control over that ball. I watched the other night and the player smashed the ball to the left and — in mid air — it made a sharp curve to the right. Where the other player was waiting on it!
I couldn’t close my mouth. It was forced open in awe!
I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to touch a ping pong (When I play it, the sport is called ping pong. When they play it, it’s definitely table tennis. Big difference.) paddle again. I’m afraid I’ll despoil the sport.
The other event I’m getting into is team handball. This is an awesome sport. Imagine water polo (which is like polo without the horses and in the pool), but without the water. These dudes run around a smallish basketball court with tiny soccer goals at each end and try to throw the ball (about the size of a volleyball) into the net.
It’s awesome and filled with action. It’s like somebody was enjoying himself at the water polo match, got splashed and then decided to make a game where he could enjoy the same action, but not worry about getting his blazer stained with chlorinated water.
Before they go crawling back into their respective holes for the next four years, make sure you give these sports a look. Even if only for the novelty value, they’re definitely worth it.Share on Facebook Tags: A Dude's Guide to Life, Awe, awesome, Basketball Court, beach, Beach Volleyball, Curve, dude, Dude's, Dudettes, Few Minutes, games, Horses, Last Bastion, Mid Air, olympics, Opponent, Ping Pong, richard, sports, Sports Team, Summer And Winter, Summer Olympics, Table Tennis, Team Handball, Water Polo, Winter And Summer Olympics, Winter Games, Wrecks