I LOVE the Olympics. I love the Olympics. Which might seem weird, because I’m not “into sports” so to say, but there’s something about the Olympics…
And I have to say, this year I even have extra love for the Olympics. For one, it’s providing me with a distraction, so I don’t dwell on how soon we have to move (again) to another (temporary) apartment. And trust me, having a distraction is almost necessary at this point. Any prolonged thought given to the fact that I don’t have a permanent home on the horizon is pretty detrimental to my mental health. I’m fed up.
But anyway, back to the Olympics! There are three big things that I’ve been noticing as I watch this year. We are lucky enough to get two Danish channels here in Sweden, so we’ve been watching on those. First of all, I can’t say how happy I am that they air badminton! I’ve always loved badminton, but I have almost never seen it played professionally before. In the US I think it’s considered more of a joke sport, which is really unfair, and I’ve never seen coverage of it, even during the Olympics. They also show a lot more of things like rowing and handball (which is now, hands down, my favorite team sport to watch…pun sort-of intended). I guess I’m just lucky that my taste in sports is pretty similar to that of the Danes’.
The second thing that has made this Olympics even more of a pleasure to watch is that I’m cheering for Denmark. Four years ago, while I watched the 2008 games, I had no idea I would be meeting my future husband in a week, or that he would be Danish, or that the next time the Olympics rolled around, I’d have a new loyalty. That’s right. I said it. I’m not really cheering for the US. That’s not to say I’m “un-cheering” for them, and if there aren’t any Danes in competition, I’ll root for the American, but I’m not super-excited about any of the medals they win. And you know why? It’s because they win so many!
I know that the US sends many fantastic athletes to compete in the Olympics, and that’s definitely something to be proud of, but isn’t it just a little boring when you expect to win medals across the board? I’ve been having more fun this year, cheering on the Danish team because they don’t win everything, and they don’t mind or think that they deserve to win. It’s always more fun to cheer for the underdogs. The Danes are happy for any medal they can get, whether it’s bronze, silver, or gold, and they’re often happy to come in fourth or fifth, too! There’s no attitude of expectation or entitlement, just enthusiasm and anticipation!
Which brings me to my third point. Somehow, my Danish is managing to get better, despite the fact that we hardly remember to speak it, and I mostly watch Swedish television. Anyway, the point is that I’m starting to understand a lot more of the Danish commentary than I expected to. Now, I don’t understand all of it, so I can’t tell you if the sort-of subtle sexism is present, and I never watched very many sports in the states, so I can’t really compare it to other commentary I’ve heard, but I really enjoy it. Their voices raise and get excited when the game is close, and they congratulate their opponents on a good play or hard-won point. Also, they shut up when there’s nothing to say. I like that a lot.
I’ve been watching badminton (with a smattering of tennis and rowing) all day, and I’m looking forward to the Danish handball game tonight. I have to say that I have a soft spot for the Danish men’s handball team. They’re just so cute, and I also think it’s a bit sweet how proud Denmark is of them (they won the Euro cup earlier this year). Hooray for the Olympics!!