This Mama’s Love Affair With the Olympics…and JumboTron
posted by: Amber Johnson
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?