Home Alone!

by Bob Sparrow

walker

My companion, Al Walker

First I’d like to thank all of those who have wished me well and a speedy recovery; I am truly blessed to have so many great and caring friends!

No ifs, ands or even butts about it . . . rehab sucks! I know many of you readers have gone through what I’m going through now, but no one told me how frustrating, boring and mind-numbing this was going to be.

I was homebound for two weeks after surgery with just me and my aluminum walker, which in my desperate search for company, I named Al Walker. I actually named it Allie Walker, but Linda didn’t like the fact that I was spending so much time alone with this strange woman. She did admit that the walker had ‘nice wheels’, but she also pointed out that it had two balls. My argument that in today’s world that didn’t necessarily define the gender, didn’t get much traction.

I have over 125 TV channels, not counting subscription or pay-per-view options and still find that there is NOTHINGDays of our Lives on TV! I did find out that a few shows that were on when I was growing up ARE STILL ON!!! Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful are still making housewives sit down for an hour and listen to organ music and detergent ads while hoping that their favorite character doesn’t get mysteriously killed in the next episode. Not to worry, they will just as mysteriously reappear when their contract gets renegotiated, if they didn’t actually die.

Going into my post-surgery rehab, I thought I was fortunate to have the Olympics as well as the always-entertaining election year battles to fill my long sedentary days.

buffett for prez

Are we just ‘wasting away again’?

As far as politics go, it is clear that the agenda of each candidate, rather than telling us what their plans are for a better America, is to be totally focused on degrading their opponent. I’m calling this one the ‘Pinocchio Election’ – the one with the longest nose wins!  A sad state of affairs.  Recent statistics show that a large percentage of voters are not voting for a candidate, but rather they’re voting to try to keep the other candidate out. I even tuned into several interviews with Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, who doesn’t appear to even be the smartest person in the room when his running mate, William Weld is present, which is most of the time. I’m leaning towards writing in Jimmy Buffett, whose campaign slogan is, “Keep a song in your heart and a margarita in your hand.” That’s more positive than anything else I’ve heard from a candidate!

As for the Olympics, I love the athlete’s stories about their dedication and their overcoming adversity to become the ‘best in the world’. I enjoyed most of the telecasts, but how much volleyball and water polo can one watch? The answer is not as much as they televised. Additionally, by mid-Olympics I was a little embarrassed by the medal count that was constantly put in front of us; I was OK until we just got so far ahead that it was a little embarrassing and perhaps a bit jingoistic. If I’m the other countries, I’m calling us the ‘dumb jocks’ and pointing out that the U.S. is ranked 14th in the world in education, 17th in happiness, 23rd in gender equality, 24th in literacy and#1 115th in linguistic diversity. But we are still #1 in number of prisoners, wine consumption and breast augmentations.

OK, I just re-read this and it’s clear I need to find a mountain to climb and get some fresh air, but in the mean time if anyone needs any medical or mental help, I’m all caught up on Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil, and I may also be able to help with your legal problems with the knowledge I’ve garnered from Judge Judy.

Get me outta here!

 

I COULDA BEEN A CONTENDER – OR NOT

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

imageEvery four years I have a Walter Mitty moment – I fantasize that I am an Olympic Games contender.  This past week I’ve been watching all of the USA Olympic team trials and, as always, think that with a little more effort I could have made the team.  This is totally delusional, of course.  I did swim for my high school and AAU teams but I think I was more interested in how I looked in my Speedo than my split times.  I also participated in gymnastics in school, but soon realized that my “thunder thighs” were not compatible with elegance, grace or balance.  So I have the utmost admiration for those who are talented and dedicated enough to take their skills to the try-outs, putting it all on the line to make the American team.  There are hundreds of competitors, but a few have stood out for me this week.

John Orozco on learning he made the team

John Orozco – In 2012 it looked like the sky was the limit for this talented gymnast.  He made the Olympic team and was heralded as a sure thing for a medal, an athlete with a fairytale story. Born to parents of little means, his mother drove him a hour each day from their home in Brooklyn to the gym in Chappequa.  Early on they slept in their car when they traveled to competitions.  A lot of hard work resulted in his Olympic dreams coming true.    But  those dreams turned into nightmares at the 2012 games.  Uncharacteristially,  he had two disastrous pommel horse routines and then fell on one of his vaults.  He was routinely chided by the critics as a huge disappointment.  But he kept plugging along.  Then in 2015 he was hit with a double whammy – his beloved mother died suddenly and he tore his Achilles’ tendon.  Everyone wrote him off for the 2016 team. But John believed in himself and wanted to honor all the sacrifices his mother made.  During the trials last week he summoned the courage and fortitude to perform at the highest levels.  He was not error-free, but was good enough for the selection committee to put him on the team.  He cried throughout the induction ceremony and anyone who watched his interview and didn’t tear up is just not human.  No matter the outcome in Rio, John Orozco is a winner in all the ways that are important.

imageTroy Dumais – Not everyone’s Olympic dreams come true.  Troy Dumais has been a premier diver for the USA since 1996, participating in the past four Olympic Games.  Think about that – he started his Olympic career when we could still leave our shoes on at the airport.  He dubbed the trials this year as his “Dive for Five”.  Unfortunately, at 36 years old, time had caught up with him and he was in fourth place going into the final round, well out of Olympic team contention. He has contributed so much to his sport that when he climbed the ladder to perform the final dive of his career, the audience gave him a standing ovation.  They continued to clap and cheer, forcing Dumais to pause and take it all in.  He broke down, then summoned the composure to execute his dive almost flawlessly.  He said afterward that he knows it’s time to retire.  He is now married with a family and said that it’s difficult to cobble together enough income to support them.  And that’s the thing that is so admirable about most of these athletes – they do it for the love of the sport.  For every Michael Phelps and Shawn Johnson who rake in the big endorsements, there are hundreds of Olympic-level contenders that have to scrape by just to make a living.  I have untold admiration for their dedication and purity of purpose.

Kevin Cordes

Kevin Cordes – I’m going to admit up front that I’m a bit biased when it comes to Kevin Cordes.  I’m a friend of his grandmother and have been following his swimming career for almost ten years.  He attended University of Arizona, where he was named the Pac 12 and NCAA swimmer of the year – twiceand in 2015 was named the Pac 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, completing his degree in Business with a 3.4 GPA.  Today he is the American record-holder in the 100m breast stroke and if you Google his name you will see a very long list of his awards and medals, both national and   international.  But what makes Keven so admirable is his discipline and comportment.  At the 2012 trials he came in third, just missing out on a spot on the Olympic team.  But he took that disappointment and built on it.  He has dedicated his life to being the best possible swimmer while remaining a good and humble person.  Sadly, that can’t be said of all of the “glamour” athletes we see on TV.  As testimony to Kevin’s reputation, last week when he won the 100m breast stroke event, finally becoming the Olympian he had dreamed about, an observer noted that during the medal ceremony all of the lane judges stood up and gave him an ovation – the first time that had happened.  In Rio Kevin will be competing in both the 100 and 200m events as well as the relays.  I know his family is extremely proud of him, not only for his achievements in the pool but also for his behavior outside of it.  He is truly an All-American in every way.

I can’t wait for the Games to begin.  I have reconciled that I will never make an Olympic team, unless eating and knitting become competitive events.   Instead, I will root for John and Kevin and all the other Olympic athletes who are so hard-working, dedicated, honest and a tribute to our country.  I’m proud that they will be representing the USA.  I wonder if we can get one of them to run for President?

THE SENIOR DECAY-THLON

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

The quadrennial Summer Olympics are upon us this week.  I have to admit that I’m a sucker for all things related to the Games.  I like the schmaltzy stories about athletes overcoming physical challenges, dysfunctional families, and swimsuits that ride up.  I even like the commercials the first time through and then, through the magic of the DVR, I whiz through the next several hours’ worth of their re-runs.

As magnificent as these elite athletes are they do have a big advantage: they practice.  They devote endless hours to getting faster, stronger and more agile.  Their family and friends support them in the effort.  Shoot, there’s even a place on our tax form so we all can support them.

Compare that to those of us who are suddenly thrust into the indignities of aging.  Without any notice (or, might I say, practice) whatsoever, we become slower, weaker and more awkward; we can’t see, can’t hear and noises come out of places that really should be silent.

I’m going to write the IOOC to suggest that if they really want to see people triumph over adversity they should establish a new event – the Senior Decathlon.  Here are the 10 events for which medals should be awarded:

  • Track:   A gold medal to the person who makes the fastest nocturnal trip to the bathroom.  Event divided into Walker, Cane and Wheel Chair categories. There would also be an Endurance award for those who can actually get through an entire night without getting up to pee.
  • Conditioning:  In this event the medal goes to the person who can spend the most minutes reading in bed.  Points will be deducted for reading the same paragraph over and over.
  • Best Reply to “How Are You Doing?”: A gold medal will be awarded to the athlete who can ramble on about the latest developments of their Disease, Condition or Procedure.  Points awarded for a) the number of listeners who stay awake for the diatribe and b) showing scars from said Disease, Condition or Procedure that require the removal of clothing.
  • Memory:  We expect a lot of entrants in this event.  The winner will be the athlete who, from a sitting position, can get up, quickly go into another room, and not remember why.
  • Grooming:  This event will reward the person who receives the most comments along the lines of “You Look Really Good”, which is code for “You look like you have one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel”.
  •  Digestion:  The medal ceremony for this event will be held in the Food Court.  Award will go to athlete who can most colorfully describe the foods that don’t “agree” with them anymore.  Extra points for saying “I like it, but it doesn’t like me”.
  • The Older We Get, The Better We Were: This event has two categories – youth and work.  Awards will go to the athlete that can tell the most tear-jerking (yet completely fictitious) story about how things used to be “back in the day” and to the athlete who can most exaggerate how important/rich/influential they were at their job.
  • No Sex, No Rock ‘n Roll, But Still Doing Drugs: Because of the Baby Boomer generation, this medal will be given to the athlete has taken the most pills after age 65.
  • Aging Gracefully:  Gold medals will be given in Men’s and Women’s Categories.  Men will be judged on Longest Comb-over.  The award for Women will go to athlete who has had a face lift and does not look like a dog with its head out the car window.
  • Dental:  Finally, this event will be won by the person who can still enunciate their words through dentures, bridges and implants.  A special award will be given to anyone who still has all of their teeth.

So, that’s it.  I don’t know if the IOOC is going to act on these suggestions but just in case, I’m getting my support hose and knee braces ready for Rio.