An Observation: Olympic Watersportsball

Every four (or five) years, I get a major case of Olympic Fever.

And every four (or five) years, I learn more about sports that I only watch once every four (or five) years.

*Disclaimer: Actually, it’s more like two (or three) years owing to the overlap between the winter and summer games since they made their aligning split from each other after 1992. I watch them all.

There’s one problem, though. During this world’s-fair-marathon of sport, I have trouble keeping up with the different rules for each one. If I only watch certain sports during Olympic years, it stands to reckon that I will be dealing with some confusion regarding their intricacies. I mean, they’ll always have an expert commentator available to point out the little details of the performances, but they usually don’t explain much in terms of procedure for the layperson. Jim McKay was very good at explaining events like lumberjack games to the uninitiated on “Wide World of Sports,” but I don’t hear as much explanation these days.

Since I watch sports like basketball on a recreational basis–and have actually played the sport (badly)–I understand it. Some of the others, however…not so much.

Through my powers of observation, though, here are a few sport rules I’ve been able to piece together after watching badminton, dressage, diving, swimming, water polo, gymnastics, handball, weightlifting, fencing, a triathlon, rugby, something else in a body of water, soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, and cycling:

  • Water Polo: Swim, tread water, throw ball at net. Don’t drown your opponent.
  • Rowing: Use big sticks to power boat. Finish the race first. Don’t drown your opponent.
  • Swimming: Finish the race first. Don’t drown your opponent.
  • Handball: Water polo on land. Run, pass, throw ball at net. Don’t drown your opponent.
  • Soccer: Water polo on land, largely minus the use of hands. Run, run, run, kick ball at net. Don’t drown your opponent.
  • Weightlifting: If it’s really heavy, pick it up. Don’t drown your opponent. (Wait…not a water sport. Oh, darn. Where did I? I think…oops.)

It may be time for me to take a break and watch something else. They’re all starting to run together. Go Watersportsball!