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An Olympic Wannabe Rests His Laurels

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Old 19 Aug 16, 17:11   #1 (permalink)
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Post An Olympic Wannabe Rests His Laurels

In this Olympic year, I cannot get enough of the coverage.

I dont care what the event is, though I prefer the track and field and swimming. You can keep the commercials. Just give me the action.

By the end of the night, thats me on the sofa, bug-eyed and weary. Its not easy being a couch potato when you have so many options throughout the day.

Ive hopped aboard the networks in the morning, afternoon, and especially during primetime. Sometimes, Ill alternate with the Red Sox, but its the Olympics that get my attention.

Maybe its because Ive always wanted to be there. We all share that secret ambition from time to time. Mine was to become an Olympian and share my affinity toward sports.

It started quite early actually when Dad handed me a baseball glove. They stuck me in the outfield where I couldnt do much harm, until a ball went off my noggin with the bases filled, sending three runners home in a championship game.

I tried basketball. With elevated sneakers, I was barely 58. But still, I had developed a pretty decent outside shot, good enough to ride the bench in prep school. Actually, I made the grade as a player-manager.

My first responsibility was serving up water to the players and taking care of business on the bench with the scorebook. But one day, the team had been depleted and I got the call.

Vartabedian, get in there and stay away from the ball. Weve got others who can shoot.

Well, it wasnt my fault when the ball came my way. I grabbed the rebound and darted straight for the basketalone. What a debacle! I wound up scoring two points in the opponents hoop and never lived down the humility.

So I gave track a shot. As sports editor of my school paper, I figured being on the team was an easy way to cover the sport. I got to run the 600 back then and was usually looking at the backs of runners. But at least I got the story.

My 18 years as a Gazette sportswriter afforded me a number of dream-like opportunities. As the sidelines nomad, I got to mingle with the athletes and coaches, many of whom endeared themselves to me.

Ive run their races, swam their meets, sank their baskets, and scored their hockey pucks. My two boys wore their high school jerseys with pride; Ive lived their dreams and aspirations as well.

My sport for the past 40 years has been racquetball with a smattering of weekly table tennis sojourns. Ive covered the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Olympics for 40 years. Corresponding is a lot easier than indulging, Ive learned. In some ways, Ive scored all those points and regulated all those standings for the ethnic papers.

Every four years, I get to relive my dreams. It doesnt matter. Im not a skier or a skater but still relish every winter Olympics that hits the scene as well.

Sometimes, we cannot get it out of our system. My doubles partner at this years New Hampshire State Seniors Racquetball Championship was an 86-year-old stalwart named Don Hussman.

The man is an inspiration to me and others who play a game. His age appears to be no factor as he still hits with authority and maintains his competitive edge. People his age are ready to concede. Most dont play. Others on the younger scale tend to become envious.

They hope to be playing by the time they reach that charmed circle. Don still travels to national tournaments around the country and holds his own with the best age has to offer.

I asked Don what keeps him going. His secret is meant to be shared with others.

It order to play a sport, youve got to be one. Its a game and it shouldnt be treated any differently, hell tell you. Keep it fun and get pleasure out of it.

I look at superstars like Michael Phelps and am in awe over their athleticism. They compete against others half their age and still prevail. The manner in which they handle their fame and glory also bears homage.

The thrill of victory never seems to abate. Its the epitome of success. Anyone winning a gold may revel in its aftermath. But it isnt always about finishing first. Sometimes, its just making the grade. When you think of the thousands from around the world who try to qualify under adverse conditions, just being there is the ultimate.

My own country of Armenia entered with more than 30 athletes. Four of themmedaled so far. In a lot of ways, they realized their dreamrepresenting their country and motivating others of their kind.


  In this Olympic year, I cannot get enough of the coverage. I dont care what the event is, though I prefer the track and field and swimming. You can keep the commercials. Just give me the action. By the end of the night, thats me on the sofa, bug-eyed and weary. Its not easy being a couch potato when you have so many options throughout the day. Ive hopped aboard the networks in the morning, afternoon, and especially during primetime. Sometimes, Ill alternate with the Red Sox, but its the Olympics that get my attention. Maybe its because Ive always wanted to be there. We all share that secret ambition from time to time. Mine was to become an Olympian and share my affinity toward sports. It started quite early actually when Dad handed me a baseball glove. They stuck me in the outfield where I couldnt do much harm, until a ball went off my noggin with the bases filled, sending three runners home in a championship game. I tried basketball. With elevated sneakers, I was barely 58. But still, I had developed a pretty decent outside shot, good enough to ride the bench in prep school. Actually, [...]
  In this Olympic year, I cannot get enough of the coverage. I dont care what the event is, though I prefer the track and field and swimming. You can keep the commercials. Just give me the action. By the end of the night, thats me on the sofa, bug-eyed and weary. Its not easy being a couch potato when you have so many options throughout the day. Ive hopped aboard the networks in the morning, afternoon, and especially during primetime. Sometimes, Ill alternate with the Red Sox, but its the Olympics that get my attention. Maybe its because Ive always wanted to be there. We all share that secret ambition from time to time. Mine was to become an Olympian and share my affinity toward sports. It started quite early actually when Dad handed me a baseball glove. They stuck me in the outfield where I couldnt do much harm, until a ball went off my noggin with the bases filled, sending three runners home in a championship game. I tried basketball. With elevated sneakers, I was barely 58. But still, I had developed a pretty decent outside shot, good enough to ride the bench in prep school. Actually, [...]
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