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This Mama’s Love Affair With the Olympics…and JumboTron

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I absolutely love the Olympics!

In my long, illustrious life, I have been privileged to live in two Olympic cities: Calgary and Salt Lake City. I was only 16 when the Olympics came to my hometown but old enough to attend many of the events. In the evenings, my friends and I would head down to the Olympic Plaza for the medals ceremony and hang with folks from all over the world. I still remember how cool we thought it was to get hit on by drunken Europeans (we obviously didn’t get out much back in those days.)

In 2002, I was living in Salt Lake City when the Olympics arrived. For my birthday, my friend Dave suggested we try to buy some hockey tickets for the Canada vs. Finland quarterfinals. For those Americans out there who have blocked this out: Canada swept the hockey golds that year, so this was a big game. Well at least it was for me.

It was the ultimate Olympic experience and worth every expensive penny we paid. I was shocked at our seats. We were right behind the goal-line and mere rows away from The First Family. Noooo, not those Bushes but the First Family of Hockey–the Gretzky’s! I was in maple-leaf HEAVEN!

Now, one would think this night could not get better but I assure you that it did. But at a huge cost. We quickly made friends with the couple sitting next to us. I got a kick out of the man’s outfit: he had a Canadian maple-leaf shaped hat, a Canadian jersey and was wearing a Canadian flag. I felt an immediate bond to him and asked where in the Motherland he was from and chuckled at his reply: Oregon. I guess if you can’t beat us, join us….

All was going smoothly and I was behaving rather well. However, I cannot vouch for the other rowdy Canucks around us. Dave commented that Canadians and beer don’t mix. I didn’t have the heart to tell him how out of hand they USUALLY get when drinking beer that actually exceeds Utah’s 0.000001% alcohol content.

So anyway, back to how I was behaving so well. It all came crumbling down in an instant. We were cheering with the crowd when, looming high above us, I caught a glimpse at the JumboTron. And a very familiar and goofy-looking guy with a maple-leaf hat. And without thinking, without hesitation, without guile, I, welp, dive-bombed into my neighbor’s lap and was broadcast for all to see.

And I was a hit! I’d say I would have been awarded at least a 5.8 for my dive and the audience’s cheers and cat calls would’ve won me the gold for sure.

And then Canada went on to win the game–the perfect end to a near-perfect evening. Really, the only downer was the butt-whooping I received from Mr. Maple Leaf’s jealous wife after jumping in his lap. “Canadian hussy,” she called me. The nerve. Some people just don’t understand the price of fame.

What Olympic events are your favorites? What athletes are you rooting for in Beijing?

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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  • comment avatar Ashley August 11, 2008
    Wow, you had such great seats for that hockey game! Awesome!
    I was going to school in Utah during the Salt Lake City Olympics. I got to go to one event, an all-day women’s skiing event, and I will NEVER forget the way the city looked at night every day during the Olympics. It was beautiful and so magical!

  • comment avatar Amy August 11, 2008

    As a die-hard hockey fan I can’t begin to tell you how jealous I am . . . Sakic and Selanne . . . need I say more?

    I’d have leapt to fame too if I had been lucky enough to be there – gotta capture the moment. Carpe diem!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson August 11, 2008

    Ahhh, thank you ladies. Finally, I feel justified. If only you were sitting next to me. 🙂

  • comment avatar Melissa August 11, 2008

    Not a hockey girl here… sorry. I’m watching Michael Phelps fairly closely, but, you know, so is the rest of the world!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson August 11, 2008

    Ahhh yes, Michael Phelps! We have been watching the Olympics in the evenings but it is tough to stay out of media during the day so as not to spoil the surprise of who won.

  • comment avatar Richelle F August 11, 2008

    That sounds like a lot of fun!

    I love to watch the gymnastics and ice skating. Swimming is fun, too!

  • comment avatar SAAM August 11, 2008

    Very COOL !!!!!!!!!!!1

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson August 11, 2008

    Ahhh, gymnastics. I watched it just last night. I prefer women’s to men’s because those girls just astound me!

  • comment avatar Damselfly August 11, 2008

    You’re so funny! Haha! Any teen girl would have done the same thing!

    I’m rooting for my hometown girl, 41-year-old mama Dara Torres!

  • comment avatar Damselfly August 11, 2008

    Who is a fabulous swimmer, I should add!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson August 11, 2008

    Damselfly: I hate to break it to you but it was my 30th birthday. 🙂

  • comment avatar Paige August 11, 2008

    Oh, the joy of Olympic fever. We went to the paralympic hocky game in SLC 2002. We couldn’t afford tickets to the real Olympics, so we went to the opening ceremonies and hocky for the paralympics, and those were both amazing!

    I’m also a Dara Torres fan. She’s AMAZING! And i love love love to watch gymnastics!

    Good luck with your laundry pile.

  • comment avatar Guinevere Meadow August 11, 2008

    Why doesn’t that surprise me about you? 🙂

    Hubby and I are going to give Lance a week to see if he will settle into the daycare. Otherwise, I will wait until he is a little older. Such a difficult decision, please pray for me! I so badly want to finish my education, but obviously not at the expense of traumatizing my child.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson August 11, 2008

    Yes, Torres IS amazing. Makes me want to get off my middle-aged butt and do something!

    And Guinie–Lance will do marvelously….

  • comment avatar Heidi Ahrens August 11, 2008

    Well, I am not into hockey but my husband is. He is a great hockey player and a Maple Leaf fan. I am French Canadian so I have to be a Canadian fan since the only game I ever saw was the Nordic’s vs Canadians. Of course, the Canadians won.

    We don’t have a television so we can’t see the olympics but i really would love to.

  • comment avatar Dana August 11, 2008

    I have only watched a few Olympic events on television, both were volleyball matches while I climbed the stair stepper at the gym. I loved watching it, but I heard one girl lost her wedding ring in the sand! Yikes!

  • comment avatar Stephanie August 11, 2008

    I love the Olympics, and Hooray for Track and Field! The women’s steeplechase should be great– I’m cheering for Utah and Weber State University native Lindsay Anderson!

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