HORIZONS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN SCOTT NUSS
Everybody during the past month has been trying to get me to talk about different things in this column.

The good side to that is that apparently people read my column. The bad side is that most of the ideas people give me are good ones, and I have to figure out which one of them to use.

However, since the Olympic Games come around only once every four years, I should probably say something about them.

I have to admit that I didn’t really have any intentions to watch many of the games. My brother is the controller of the remote when we go on vacation, but when he stumbled upon the opening ceremonies in the hotel room during our recent family vacation, I demanded that he stop and watch them.

Whether it was a mistake is debatable, but it sure got me interested in the Games.

I don’t know how many nights I stayed up and watched the Games, but a couple things jumped out at me right off the bat.

The first thing I noticed was that the only events that any of the American television outlets covered were the events with Americans competing.

While I understand this, I personally would have liked to see more of the kayaking, badminton, table tennis and other less-popular events myself.

You can usually find a soccer game or a tennis match on network television on any given weekend. Maybe it’s just the way I am, but I enjoy getting to know different sports when given the chance.

One day I took the time to watch the American basketball team compete. I can’t remember who they were playing, but a few things bugged me about the American team.

I was disturbed by the “Dream Team’s” roster. All the big shots stayed in the States, which I think proved my point about the NBA.

The Olympics don’t pay millions of dollars, so consequently, the big names that everybody can relate to turned down the invitation to represent their country.

While I would have liked to have seen more big names on “Team USA,” I am glad we had some people who actually genuinely enjoyed the game of basketball.

At the same time, I was disgusted in how the athletes on the team complained about the officiating. Hopefully, the Olympic officials taught our NBA players a lesson or two, and made them realize how much they get away with in NBA competition.

One of the NBC commentators pretty much hit the nail on the head when he made the comment that “Olympic referees don’t care how big your name is, they’re officiating a game between teams from two countries they don’t have anything to do with. They just want to see good basketball.”

Perhaps the two events in the Olympics that made me say “wow” the most were the marathon and the triathlon.

I know Marion County is home to a number of marathon runners, but I don’t see how it’s possible to run or jog 26 miles without walking.

Personally, I’m doing good if I can make it two laps around a track without walking, but 26 miles just astounds me.

On top of that, I want to know what in the world would possess anybody to put long-distance performances in swimming, biking and running together for one event.

They might not be the big-name athletes we’re used to hearing about, but these people are, without question, outstanding athletes who deserve more credit than they get.

Speaking of endurance races, I was a part of an endurance race of a different kind recently. The Pratt Community College Phi Theta Kappa chapter is very active in the Pratt Relay for Life.

One of our challenges was to stay the whole night. We could sleep if we wanted to, or we could try to stay awake for the 12-hour event. I am proud to say that from the time I arrived at the track (6:30 p.m.) until I left at 7 a.m., I never fell asleep.

Walking assignments from 9 to 10, 3 to 4, and 6:30 to 7 helped, but I took the challenge of our adviser. Twelve hours is nothing compared to what cancer patients go through on a daily basis.

This Friday will mark my personal favorite time of the athletic year: the opening of high school football season.

If I’m not mistaken, all other sports begin at different times this week as well.

Whether you’re a Trojan, Marion Warrior, Peabody-Burns Warrior, Cougar or Bluebird, I wish you the best of luck in your respective sport this season.

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