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Jay Severin: My Dubious Olympic Experience

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Anybody else sensing a certain emotional distance - lack of excitement - between us and the current Olympics competition?

United States' Kaitlyn Farrington competes on her way to win the women's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Is it just me? Or is "the feeling" gone?

Anybody else sensing a certain emotional distance - lack of excitement - between us and the current Olympics competition? Nothing profound - rather like the difference between the first dozen dates and a dozen years later.

Natural, I know.

But, somehow, I expect the Olympics to, in the words of the ancient Foreigner rock song, "be like the first time, the very first time."

Frankly, darling, quel disappointment. No offense.

Of course there is, for openers the fact, thus far, we suck - in strictly Olympic terms.

But it's more than that, right?

When I was a kid, I came from a family of outdoors-folk in general and the earliest (post World War II) skiers. Almost nobody else we knew skied. Nobody. To ski, we used to travel to Colorado - where my parents met and first skied together. It was tremendously special, as was our feeling of being part of an unusual, special fraternity.

World War II era skiers. Photo Credit: Google World War II era skiers. Photo Credit: Google

We didn't expect Americans to actually win anything in the Winter Olympics - but still we felt a genuine (if unilateral) kinship with all the other competitors. After all, we were skiers! And that was Special.

We had no trouble taking nearly as much pride in the Winter Games' exploits of, say, Austria, as we did in the very rare distinction of U.S. competitors.

It was, now that I recall, as close to the true "Olympic Spirit" as has existed since. It was a then still small fraternity of those who reveled in Winter Sports: You ski? We ski!

These last few weeks, my anticipation of the Games has been as keen as ever - maybe because now my own family is just old enough to be excited about the Olympics as I was as a kid. It was a really special family time.

taly's Dominik Paris makes a jump during men's downhill combined training at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) taly's Dominik Paris makes a jump during men's downhill combined training at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

We all knew the schedule - when was the next Downhill event, the Slalom, etc. Even the sports we never personally knew held a kind of magical spell for us. I still believe it was the magic of family bonding that the competition, per se.

But, this year, despite my rabid Daddy Cheerleading to build electric anticipation for THE OLYMPICS (!) the we would all, as skiers, WATCH TOGETHER (!), the Excitement Quotient was, um, somewhat flat.

I was dismayed I had to furiously pump the tires every day to get my family "primed" for this magic event.

And, thus far, the magic has been little.

And I wonder, a bit sadly, why?

One reason, I suppose, is that when my child bride and I grew up, skiing was a rare, delicious event.

Now it is like attending a local grade school soccer game - no offense.

Another is that the competition for the attention of my family is so much greater than earlier, pre-iPhone, pre-computer games.

Another, still, are the Olympic Events themselves. This is not my kids' Daddy's Olympics: I need a bloodhound, alarm clock, a day off, and water-borading to induce my kinds to watch the "classic" events.

Then again - and I must assume the blame here - the events to which the kids would be most likely attracted (snowboarding, the half-pipe) are alien to me, and I fear my relatively dismissive attitude toward them ("well, they're Nice...but not REAL Olympic Events") confirm Daddy as a hopeless, clueless fossil, who couldn't possibly know his triple-axle from his own back ache.

United States' Kaitlyn Farrington competes on her way to win the women's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana) United States' Kaitlyn Farrington competes on her way to win the women's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Guilty.

Even so, I feel I ought to be capable of generating sufficient interest - if not wild, unbridled frenzy - to collect my family around the Olympic TV Hearth, at least for the Marque Events.

But, here, I fear is the problem: the Marque Event of my childhood was The Mens Down Hill!

Today it is the Girls' Snowboard Half Pipe.

Wow!

I'm trying, honest, I am.

Because if I lose them now, here, I fear the principal sporting event in their lives will become some version of Bi-Caged-Death-Match.

Please: Anything but that.

I am prepared to settle, out of court, for Curling.

At least we can view it as a family.

That's all the Olympics has ever really meant for me.

I keep trying.

You, too, I trust.

Love,

Daddy Severin, Olympic Fossil

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