The official countdown until the summer Olympics is 30 days. 30 days! I can’t wait. I may not be much of a sports fan the rest of the time (except for football when I have money riding on it and baseball and hockey when I’m attending a game in person) but during the two weeks worth of Olympics-goodness every two years? I’m glued to the TV watching sports that I’ve never heard of or seen outside of the Olympics. I even have some official Olympic pins around here someplace. I think they’re from the 1996 Atlanta games.
I’m even glued to the Olympics trials. I watched the track and field trials Saturday night, then the swimming ones last night. Gymnastics is next up – my second favorite Olympic sport after figure skating. Although I also like to watch curling, track and field, snowboarding, skiing, swimming and, well, just about everything.
I’ve been trying to determine exactly when I became so obsessed with this biennial sporting event, and I think it dates back to when I was a figure skater. Sure, I never made it beyond the Cleveland area (although I dreamed of someday making it to the Olympics for about a year before getting burned out on the sport), but I was inspired to watch every national and international figure skating competition that I could. I even went to the Ice Capades one year at the old Richfield Coliseum. So, roughly since I was 12 years old, I’ve been obsessed with the Olympics. And I don’t see that obsession waning anytime soon.
I spent most of my Labor Day weekend getting up early and hauling my half-asleep self to Cleveland for the yearly air show. Why? Well, to make a long story short, my dad built a 1/14th scale replica of a plane owned by the FAA. It’s a DC-3 called the N34. He displayed the plane next to theirs (the big one) all weekend, and I was a member of his “ground crew.” It mostly involved spending half of my time wandering around the air show taking in the sights, and the other half trying to stay out of the sun by sitting underneath a tail strut.
My dad (in the white shirt) with the FAA N34 crew.
It was a blast! I love the sound of a jet engine and watching airplanes buzz through downtown Cleveland at close to the speed of sound is thrilling. The only downside was the cost of food and drinks, but I got around that by bringing my own bottles of water and only allowing myself one $7 funnel cake. And a burger, some french fries and a few hotdogs. Oops. There went my budget.
The first day wasn’t the best – there were 30mph wind gusts and enough rain to make it seem like a monsoon. We toughed it out by hiding inside the full-size DC-3 and chatting the N34 crew. Although we never figured out what the deck angle is.
Unlike classic cars, planes don’t have personal number plates with the years they were built – so, for the record, this plane was built in the 1940′s.
Thankfully the next few days were better, and there was constant stream of vistors to check out both planes. My dad was even ambushed by Charlie Airshow for a quick interview.
It was a great holiday weekend, but I think I’m airshow-ed out for a few years. That is, unless they have something I’ve never seen before planned for next year.