Tuesday, August 16, 2016
I have low-grade Olympic fever
I'm somewhere in the middle when it comes to Olympic fandom. I don't collect anything Olympic and I think some of the sports are too weird to get to know. But at the same time I've come across people who do nothing but criticize the Olympics or refuse to watch them and that turns me off.
I do like watching the Olympics, and I do get into a little.
My job doesn't allow me to devote 14 days of prime-time viewing to it; in fact it gets pretty damn busy in the workplace around Olympic time. But, if nothing else, it's nice to have something worthwhile to view on your television for a couple of weeks.
And in that very low-grade Olympic fever type of mood, I snagged a couple of loose packs of USO&PTH cards to open.
So, let's see what Olympians/non-Olympians are in these packs. Maybe it'll get some of you into the Olympic spirit while there's still time left. Hum the Olympic theme if you must.
#12 - Carlin Isles, rugby
Isles led the U.S. in tries and points in Rio. This is the first year for rugby in the Olympics. I briefly watched the U.S. lose to eventual gold medalist Fiji, whose population is a little more than the population of North Dakota. We care a lot about rugby here in the U.S.
#6 - Mariel Zaguins, fencing
A Rio bronze medalist. Fencing is a lot more colorful than I remember it, with the light-up masks and the neon streaks indicating who poked who first. I don't pretend to understand most Olympic sports, but that's basically what fencing looks like to me, poke or be poken.
#67 - Nathan Adrian, swimming
Adrian was the anchor leg in the gold medal relay finale for men's swimming, i.e., Michael Phelps' last Olympic race. Some of these photos are cropped way too tightly.
#64 - Aly Raisman, gymnastics
So far, all current Olympians! Raisman has a gold and silver medal in Rio. I also have a card of her from the 2015 Panini Americana set. That causes me to wonder if she'll appear in a First Pitch insert set next year and become a trading card renaissance woman.
#74 - Maya Moore, basketball
5-for-5 in Olympians. Basketball apologist Dan Patrick was defending the women's basketball tournament the other day, saying that people don't criticize Michael Phelps for winning so convincingly, how come people are down on the U.S. women's team? OK, Dan, probably because Phelps hasn't been lapping the field since 1996 like the U.S. women.
#62 - Rulon Gardner, wrestling
Wow, he's taking up a lot of cardboard territory. Gardner is not a current Olympian, which means he doesn't belong in this set. He ruined the streak of Rio Olympians.
#9 - Kayla Harrison, judo
I saw her win a gold medal last week. I've covered judo, although it was quite a while ago. I don't really understand the sport, and anything in which one person piles on top of you in an effort to get you to pass out doesn't seem worth four years of training to me, but it was nice to see her so excited.
#4 - Diana Taurasi, basketball
Did you know Diana Taurasi is the most-searched keyword name on this blog and has been for quite some time? Yeah, I have no idea why either.
#40 - Abby Wambach, soccer, silver parallel
#53 - Margaux Isaksen, modern pentathlon, bronze parallel
These foil parallel things are back, which means Topps still thinks it's 1992. I hate these, and if I collected the set, I'd hate them more. Wambach is retired and shouldn't be in the set. Isaksen is scheduled to compete Thursday.
#38 - Simone Biles, gymnastics
I pulled this card just as Bob Costas had finished talking about her. Yeah, I know, he's talked about her 782 times this Olympics, but it's still cool. Although this is not the greatest photo of our darling medal-hog.
#14 - Missy Franklin, swimming
Topps put the cover jinx on her. No medals and she doesn't know what went wrong. #ThanksTopps
#2 - Claressa Shields, boxing
I haven't seen one second of boxing on Olympic TV. It used to be on during Olympic coverage constantly. Shields is scheduled to compete in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
#25 - Jake Dalton, gymnastics
The guy with an Old West name was sixth in the floor exercise in Rio.
#50 - Ryan Lochte, swimming
Bro, totally don't dig dudes who dye their locks, you know? But at least he's a Rio guy. Being held-up in Rio is about as Rio as you can get.
#10 - Matt Stutzman, archery
The first paralympian of the packs. I have been glued to the archery competition at the Olympics. Everything about it is amazing and fascinating to me, right down to the little hats the South Korean women wear. But to shoot with your feet? Next level stuff.
#13 - Kim Rhode, shooting
Rhode has been piling up medals since the 1996 Olympics. Political types have been in an uproar about the lack of media coverage she's received, and then other political types blew a gasket responding to the uproar. Political types need to go play outside. Go on. Mommy says you need to go play outside.
#70 - Tatyana McFadden, track and field
McFadden has been competing in the Paralympics since 2004. The back says she was born with spina bifida in a Russian orphanage and learned to walk on her hands to keep up with the other kids. Which means I have to stop complaining about every inconvenience in my life.
#47 - Merrill Moses, water polo, gold parallel
#28 - Brad Snyder, swimming, bronze parallel
Moses plays goal for the U.S. team, which didn't advance out of the preliminaries in Rio. Brad Snyder is a paralympian who lost his vision in an explosion in Afghanistan.
So, that's it. Just two packs. No blaster. Certainly no box. I do like the design of these a lot better than the cards from four years ago. But I'm not collecting them so they're all up for grabs. Like I said, it's a low-grade fever.
I'll settle in and watch the Olympics today. Then it's off to work for the rest of the week, so I'll catch it when I can. And I'll be sad when it's all over.
The fever will have broken.