I have something embarassing to admit... sometimes, I cry at sports.
Okay, when I say "sometimes" I kind of mean all of the time.
But give me a break, I know I'm a "tomboy" when it comes to knowing a lot about sports, but when it comes to everything else, I'm pretty girly - I love chick flicks, I cry at TV, I love getting a good mani/pedi, I like to cook, and I rarely leave the house without ironing my clothes.
So yeah, I cry at sports. Those "make a wish" segments on ESPN kill me. And I guess I'm the sucker NBC is gearing towards to, cause the stories on Lopez Lomong, etc., cause me to well up. I cry whenever I see what a win really means to someone... because it's not even about sport, its about accomplishing something they have worked their entire lives to. And I cry when someone loses something they have worked their entire lives for.
These Olympics have been no exception.
I have watched gymnastics ever since I can remember, I even tried gymnastics for a few years until I realized I was way too tall, and hadn't started at 4, so any Olympic asperations I may have had were to stay in my dreams. But I still love watching gymnastics, more amazed each year at what the young girls can do.
On Tuesday, I watched Massachusetts' own Alicia Sacramone fall of the beam and then fall on the floor, destroying her Olympic ideals. My eyes welled up with hers, knowing that she had hurt her team, and after years of spending 6 days a week, 6 hours a day in the gym, it all came down to a couple of falls.
In the all-around, America's hopes were tightly in the hands of 4'9 Shawn Johnson, and slightly behind her was Nastia Liukin, the Moscow-born, Texas bred daughter of an Olympic gold medal gymnast. Johnson's mid-west attitude, chipmunk cheeks and toothy grin scream "America's darling," while the more cold Liukin lurked in the background. For some reason, I was pulling for the calm and cool Liukin.
Definitely what would be considered an ice princess, Liukin is all business, and all beauty. Watching Johnson, she is simply missing something that Liukin has. Liukin gained her strength from her father, a 1988 gold medalist for the Soviet Union, but she got her beauty and grace from her mother, a World Champion rhythmic gymnast (yeah, I don't think its a sport but it's still pretty). Luikin's lines are impeccable, and her longer, less muscular body is just a lot prettier to watch that Johnson's tiny muscular stout body.
So when Liukin walked onto the floor needing barely a 14.8 to take the gold, I got chills. When she finished a gorgeous routine and all but secured the gold, I started to feel tears in my eyes.
When the routines were done, and the places were secure, Liukin finally broke into a smile for the first time in the entire competition. And when she hugged her father, now with the bond of an Olympic gold between them, and stood on the medal stand and finally showed real emotion - holding back the tears, - I knew I was alone in my bed and didn't have to show the same strength.
Saturday night when Phelps won his 8th gold, I cried as though I was his mother, so proud that he hasn't let the hype or the pressure overtake him. It makes me especially proud that he really seems to know what it means, and he doesn't take it for granted.
This year alone, I cried when the Red Sox won the World Series, when the Celtics won the Championship, and when Patriots lost. I cry when Bob Costas tells his stories about amazing athletes, and when Bryant Gumble tells the story of the treatment of racehorses.
Sometimes I feel like a wuss when I'm crying at sports. But then I remember that I could kick your ass at fantasy football, and I could tell most guys a thing or two about a cover-two. So there.