Can we say, obsessed much? I am not going to even pretend that I have not anticipated this all summer. If you know me at all, you will have heard me say "Is no one else as excited as I am?!" or "so when are we having the Olympics party?!" Quite frankly, my suspense has bothered everyone. Maybe it's my unconcious dream of being an Olympic athlete. Or maybe, I am just so full of patriotism that I can't help but watch the tired athlete at the end of his/her race stand there and admire a flag that represents so much to them. It is hard to believe that my heart can be so full FOR them, when only they know what they have put into it.
I think that more than anything, I enjoy the background stories of the athletes. Was their family supportive? Were they naturally gifted, or did they have to overcome certain obstacles? Either way, it is always moving. Just for a second, you are able to step into their world and realize that this is something that they have worked for their entire life. A four-year competition that means more to them than any medal could signify. For most of us, we wish we were capable of loving something that much. The outpouring of love and support that these people receive is so touching, that it seems like it is one person reaching a goal for many. You have Michael Phelps, who not only achieved the unthinkable, but he did it for his family and his country. After every race, there his sweet family stood with tears in their eyes, proving that this was far more than the performance, this was a triumph.
I recently heard that the Olympics are important, in that, they are one of the last cultural representations of global communication that bind us in a positive way. As I thought about this, I realize how true it is. Every four years, we are able to come together under the blanket of competition and be together. In that moment, we are relevant, we are competitors, and we are friends. The touch at the end of the buzzer, the strength through the race, the perserverance in the face of defeat, are nothing short of inspiring. I know that I've enjoyed watching it, and can only hope that my training will pay off and I'll finally get that gold for the gymnastics all-around that I've been chasing...
2008 Olympics Highlights:
Men's 400 IM Relay
Nastia Liukin's Gold Medal Performance for the Women's Gymnastics All-Around
So the time came for my last ‘hoorah’ of the summer. That ‘little’ brother of mine finally turned the big 2-1, so it was time for the Rogers’ to take the leap and head West. We have had long-standing plans of commemorating this monumental occasion with a trip to Sin City. I really don’t think any of us knew what to expect, considering our limited knowledge of Vegas consited of celeb sitings in US Weekly. True to form, there she was in all of her dessert glory. You had your shiny bulbs, palm trees, smoky casinos, old timers, buffets, elaborate swimming pools, round-the-clock beverage service, and many other Vegas notables.
The trip began with a wild Continental flight, complete with rowdy Jersey boys, overly-excited flight attendants, and a partridge in a pear tree. I arrived in Las Vegas, met up with my sister and her husband, spotted Vanilla Ice (yes, this really happened…), hopped in a cab and then hit the town. Oh Vegas, you haven’t changed a bit. Sure there were a few shiny, new hotels, but everything else seemed standard. Since it’s such a rare occasion that we all travel together, we enjoyed every minute of our long weekend. Although you won’t understand all of the Griswold moments, complete with your very own Clark (aka Steve-O), I thought I’d share a few of the highlights:
- Jersey Frat party on Continental Flight 268 - Making eye contact with Vanilla Ice, no less than 10 minutes upon arrival - The Pina Coladas at NY,NY - Feeling left out for not having a tattoo - Finding out that Vegas queso is not the same as Texas queso - Alfred the waiter - Playing Catchphrase in my parent’s room:
Dad’s clue: “OK! Shot in the back of the head….” 1st Guess: “Lincoln?” [shakes head no] 2nd Guess: “JFK?” Dad: “No, his son…” Answer: JFK Jr.
- Turning Dad’s clue into a week-long joke - Taylor finding Mario and Luigi on the strip - Winning $33 dollars on a slot machine, only to lose $45 later - Jersey Boys - “she’s a raaaaaaag doll” - The 2008 Olympics - reserving pool chairs two hours in advance - 2 hour photo shoot at the Venetian, complete with a tripod - Dad then losing the tripod, only to buy a non-refundable tripod, only to retrieve the original tripod - Saturday spa day with the girls - overheating in the steam room/saying that it felt like a "gas chamber" - then overheating in the dry room - having Tim the masseuse - The Bellagio water show - Wayne Brady Improv show - “Nice Vans Spicoli” - Big Red the Outback waiter - the 8-month pregnant cocktail waitress - riding the rollercoaster at NY,NY
Needless to say, the trip was a success. We all had a great time trying to win a few bucks and hopefully the birthday boy felt special. Until next time, Vegas will wait patiently with the likes of Midwest elderly couples, overeager 20-somethings, NASCAR fans and young families just looking for a good time.
I thought that now would be the time for me to explain the title of this blog. Now I know what you're thinking - "so what makes you so good?" And the truth is, nothing. I can only explain myself as what I strive to be. And while I will always have my flaws, I would consider myself to hold rank next to the other legions of good girls. The funny part is, the older I've gotten the less and less of a compliment it has seemed to my counterparts. Instead of being 'good,' they'd rather be 'cool,' or 'the best,' or 'hot,' you get the idea...
I always remember when we were little my Mom would always say with so much excitement, "you're such a good girl!" or "good job!" At the time, it was the highest compliment. Good was the best. Good what something to be proud of. Yet, year after year, I wanted more. I wanted to be the 'cute girl' or the 'fun girl.' It was never enough to be just good. In some instances, it seemed like good was second-rate. It insinuated that I was just nice...and that doesn't go very far. However, the older I get, the more and more I appreciate this compliment. Being good is safe. It keeps me from the pressures of the best, and more importantly, the disappointment of falling short.
As I was getting ready to move to New York a lot of people warned me to not let the city change myself. They'd advise me to step back, take some perspective, but most importantly, to stay good. Change is ok, but only change for the better. Only now do I realize how truly important that is. Sure, I could develop more style...or become more responsible...but never at the sake of remaining good.
I hope this reveals a little bit more about the idea behind blog. I will share funny stories, random quotes, trivial pursuits, and let you know who I am with the hope of revealing that all in all, things are pretty good. Above all, my greatest hope is that I will live in a way so that one day, when the show's over and I'm at the front of the line, that I'll be told that I was good.
I feel safe here, so I will just lay it out on the table. I am an idol fan. Now, there is a strict hierarchy in the system, and I am proud to say that I am nowhere near the top of the Idol food chain. Let's disect for a minute, we'll start from the bottom:
The 'drop in' - This is the fan that 'drops in' every year to see who they like. Sure, they'll watch the prelimenary episodes to catch all of the freaks, but rarely stick it out through each and every round. They'll catch an occasional song and possibly the finale, yet you'll keep hearing them say "So wait, where's Dunkleman?!"
The 'watcher' - Here you've got your 'average joe.' Sure they'll TIVO each episode and rate their favorites, but this person has a handle on the mania. Not only will they rewind through the commercials and added product placements, but they'll lay low when all of the voting hoopla gets out of hand. (this is where I fall)
The 'fanatic' - Ok, so this is when it starts getting serious. These people remember past seasons, donate to "Idol Gives Back," vote on a very regular basis and occasionally frequent the message boards. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this kind of devotion, I just think that there needs to be an accountability partner or some sort of watch group for when things get a little nutty.
The 'lunatic' - What we have here is a serious problem. The key elements to this status are emotional outbursts, hours logged into Idol research/stalking, exorbant amounts of money spent on paraphenalia, and heated discussions that leave people thinking "wait, is she related to that contestant?!"
Now, those are just the high points of the Idol hysteria. Sure, you can fall into a 'grey' zone and consider yourself a 'tweener,' but the main objective is to keep yourself in check. I use all of this to explain that I found myself in a grey zone this week. I received a frantic email from Robbie wanting to know if I wanted to sit in the 11th row in New Jersey for the American Idol concert. No aspect of this email was unusual. Robbie inquiring about upcoming show - normal, needing a turnaround time of five minutes - nothing out of the ordinary, American Idol concert - a little bit of a stretch. Listen, I love little Archie with the best of them. I even bought into the whole David v. David finale...but I felt certain that I'd never crossover into an actual fan. Well, plans change my friends. I put on my sundress, bought my cotton candy (pink) and enjoyed the show that was full of so much awesomeness that I won't even begin to try and cover it all, but I'll try my best to supply you with some serious mental images.
So let's see...the highlights: Kristy Lee sang 'Proud to be an American,' Syesha got a boob job, Carly fixed her teeth (veneers?), Little Archie sang 'Apologize', and David Cook wore enough eye makeup to keep MAC in business. All in all, it had the trappings of so much ridiculousness that we couldn't contain ourselves. We even stopped to wait for them to come out, until we realized that we were losers that had to be at work the next morning. Plus, there was a Make-A-Wish girl in a wheelchair right next to us, and it just didn't feel right trying to get an autograph on our ticket stubs when she had literally flown across the country to see them, so we left.
Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so the better part of the night will be flashes in my mind, but as you can imagine...it was everything that a mediocre fan could hope for.
Notable quote: "Carly...look up." - my gentle attempt to tell Carly to look up for me to take a picture with my cell phone. Low point.