Archive for August, 2004

16 Days of Sweaty Bliss

August 31, 2004 Leave a comment

Hello, my name is Donny and I am an Olympaholic.

Aaahhh… the Olympics. I love them. I don’t know if it is the nationalism, the excitement of the sport, the fact that they occur only once every four years, or the inspirational and often tear-jerking stories. I don’t know why exactly. But I can’t get enough of them. And this year NBC broadcasted them nearly 24 hours/day. What was I supposed to do? (Thank goodness for TIVO. I was even able to watch handball and table tennis! (not to mention badminton) Technology is great!!) Shortly after they began I looked for a 12-step program only to be told that there was not one for the Olympics. I was obsessed.

I was elated when America did well and saddened when our athletes did not fare so well. It was extremely touching to see big bronze medalist Rulon Gardner sit on the mat, sobbing as he removed his shoes, leaving them in the center of the ring as he walked off into retirement from wrestling.

It was also great to see Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco finally get the gold medal that has eluded him for so long. This is a guy that has been dominant in the 1500m but has never won Olympic gold. (To be sure, I don’t follow this sport but the TV coverage of this guy made me all excited to see him win. I even woke Rhonda up screaming, “GO…GO…GO” at the television during that race. It was quite exciting.)

I am now a fan of Beach Volleyball. I have always enjoyed watching indoor volleyball but the beach variety was fast and exciting. I was so happy with the two women’s teams – only wished they could have played each other for the gold. The men were disappointing. In fact, women’s teams all around did well. We won basketball, soccer, and simply dominated the softball tournament.

I don’t know if I have ever seen so many people knocking down hurdles and falling in the Olympics. Especially not the favorites! That was surprising. I was upset with the Greek fans at the final for the men’s 200m for delaying the race by their rowdy and disgraceful behavior. They were upset that their star (and current World Champion) had withdrawn from the games over a doping matter. I think the Greek people that were present that night embarrassed themselves and their country. When the race was finally started, after attempting once and one false start, the Americans swept the medals. So please excuse me if I say… BOOYAH! (I don’t know what that means but I think it might be appropriate at this time.)

Swimming star Michael Phelps made us proud by winning 8 medals but really even more because of his unselfish attitude throughout the meet. He gave up the last swim to another team member who had not won a gold medal yet. To be sure, Phelps still got a medal from that last relay (he swam in the prelims) but this gesture was remarkable.He seems to be a great guy. Now if he would just stop listening to Eminem…

The gymnasts did well winning nine medals overall. Both could have won team gold if it were not for but a few missteps. The best teams won that night, I guess. I was happy to see Carly Patterson win the all-around. She was great. I was upset with the judging controversy in the men’s all-around. Paul Hamm won, a first for America, and I hope that he is not letting all of this other stuff tarnish his win. I was glad that the USOC finally made a stand for him instead of trying to pacify the other guys. The whole controversy kind of mirrored the last presidential election. You have a winner and then a lot of energy is spent from some to convince everyone that he didn’t really win. I hope Paul Hamm goes to the world championships next year and wins the all-around there. Let’s show them who the winner is. I think he handled the whole situation with grace.

I liked the campaign ad that I saw touting the presence of women athletes from Afghanistan. Say what you want about the war on terror. A direct result from it is the two women who participated in Athens. They were the first women competing from Afghanistan. That is awesome. We have made a difference.

I always get teary eyed when I hear the National Anthem. It was played 35 times in Athens. During most of those times the athletes on the top podium had their hands over their hearts but not always. I am almost forgiving considering all of the things that must be going through their minds at the time. Actually, I think that the USOC should make it known that the athletes are expected to put their hands on their hearts during the anthem. We are the only country that does that, I think. It think it shows great love and respect for our flag, anthem, and what our country represents. No one seemed to know what to do with the laurel wreaths (hold them over their heart like a baseball cap or not). It was a throwback to the early Olympic games but I think some guys thought it was just plain awkward. Overall, the swimming team was the most consistent in regards to placing their hands over their hearts during the medal ceremonies.

They finally extinguished the flame on Sunday night. I was sad that it was all over with but grateful for the fun and entertainment that the Olympics had once again provided. I am coping well with withdrawal and there is hope. NBC will once again play the role of enabler when the Olympic flame is once again lit just over 16 months from now in Torino, Italy. I think I can make it that long. Okay, I know what you are thinking. I told you at the beginning that I was obsessed. Did you not believe me?

On another issue, I have some Gmail invitations that I can send to anyone who wants to try out Gmail. If you don’t know, it is a web-based email, hosted by Google (everybody’s favorite search engine), that offers 1 gigabyte of storage. That is huge. If anyone wants me to send them an invite to try it out, let me know. It is pretty cool.

Categories: Current Affairs, Sports

Friends, Flour, and Florida – Part 1

August 9, 2004 Leave a comment

We went to see some awesome friends (Steve and Amy) in Houston a few weeks ago. We hadn’t seen these guys in probably about seven years – we had not even seen three of the four kids that they have. We had a great time. And if it couldn’t get any better, it did. My old college roommate, Jeff, (Amy’s brother) and his wife also joined us for the weekend. In many ways, it felt like yesterday when we were together last. I guess good friends are like that. We went to an Astros game and then took six hungry and tired kids out to eat at 9:30 pm. That may have not been such a good idea – but it was fun. We went to their church on Sunday. That was a fantastic experience. After church we went to the Khema Boardwalk down on the Galveston Bay (at least, I think that is where we were.) It was sooooo hot and the smallest kids, well, Noah actually, went kinda nuts, so after spending about five hours there, Steve and I walked back to Waco to get the cars. Well, we didn’t walk, actually, and they weren’t parked in Waco but we did have to park a long way away. The next day, Amy made homemade pizza for us. It was great. Watching her make it was almost as great as the pizza itself. After four days, we left and came home by way of San Antonio. (Trey had studied the Alamo in 7th grade and we thought it would be cool to go there. And face it, who can pass up the Riverwalk!)

It was good to get home from our trip. And in the couple of weeks since we have used Amy’s recipe for pizza a few times. We are getting better. Turns out that it is actually cheaper than delivery and/or frozen pizza. The other day I was making some dough for the crust, you know, adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and BAM! (as Emeril would say) It hit me. No…not the dough. At the time the dough was this big gooey mess in the bowl. But I started thinking of how friendships are a lot like the pizza dough I was making:

Flour – our individual lives are the cups of flour that are thrown together in the bowl. We cannot help but get involved in each other’s lives in the bowl because we are mixed together.

Yeast – the yeast that is added is representative of Jesus. Once it is added, our friendship will rise and grow to be much more of a friendship than one without it. Dough without yeast is somewhat tough and flat. Friendships without Jesus can be the same way.

The other seasonings that are added give flavor to the friendship:

Thyme – quality time must be invested or the relationship can be shallow.

Rosemary – sharing trials that grind us up fosters closeness and intimacy.

Oregano – the intimacy that results leads to greater transparency and trust.

Basil – trust in the relationship is crucial. Trust goes a long way.

Garlic – fellowship and fun will come naturally and is maybe the boldest “flavor” there is in the relationship. This puts the “quality” in “quality time.”

Salt – to preserve the friendship when you are not together. The salt in each individual also inspires and encourages the others in the friendship.

Olive Oil – prayer for each other – it keeps the relationship from drying out and makes a bond that will keep everything together.

Water – love is what permeates all of the ingredients and works (along with the oil) to hold all of the other ingredients from falling apart.

When properly mixed together and kneaded by the Creator you will find that a most delicious result will ensue.

Trey spent a week in Florida at church camp. I will write about his experiences there next time. Hopefully, it won’t be a month before I write again.

Categories: Family