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My Turn

Wayne Chan

From The Asian Reporter, V26, #17 (September 5, 2016), page 6.

The mundane Olympics

Now that the Rio Olympics are behind us, I think this is a perfect moment to take stock of many of the brilliant performances as well as how the entire Olympic movement can play a part in our daily lives.

It seems to me that with every gold medal, every stunning finish, and every amazing physical achievement we witnessed in Rio, there are also times when those of us who arenít Olympically inclined can celebrate accomplishments of our own, with or without medals hanging around our necks.

Take Michael Phelps as an example. Iím as astounded as anyone that he pulled in another five gold medals to go along with the 18 gold medals heíd already won. Yet was that feat ó as impressive as it was ó really more amazing than the five times I had to go back to Home Depot because I kept grabbing the wrong tub spout to replace the broken one in my kidís bathtub?

How, you ask, could that be as big an accomplishment as the swimming of Michael Phelps?

Well, did Michael Phelps stub his toe while trying to unscrew the old tub spout? Did Michael Phelps have to endure the puzzled stares of the Home Depot folks wondering why I kept buying a new tub spout just to drive back 30 minutes later to exchange that same spout for another? Did Michael Phelps have to indignantly shout "We donít need Dave! I can fix this thing!" when his wife said they should ask his extremely handy neighbor Dave to fix the tub instead?

I donít think so! If the next Olympics might include a "Persistence in Home Improvement Competition," I better start lining up sponsorships now.

Then thereís the basketball competition.

Now, Iím not saying the U.S. menís basketball team winning a third gold medal in a row isnít impressive, because it is. Having said that, basketball is a game that was created in the United States and is played by guys who are all extremely tall and make millions of dollars playing the game professionally in the U.S.

If those are the rules for starting an Olympic sport, Iíd like to kick off a campaign to create an Olympic event called "Spotting the Gopher Before It Tears Up Your Wifeís Prized Petunias Using a Hose and a Pair of Binoculars." Show me that on an Olympic program and Iíll show you the winner of the gold medal.

And for those who think my gopher-spotting or home-repair competitions donít make any sense, let me remind you of the REAL Olympic sport: The biathlon.

The biathlon is a winter Olympic competition in which athletes ski for long distances then stop to shoot at a target. If they miss the target, they have to ski a penalty loop before they can shoot again. Much like going back to Home Depot for buying the wrong spout, wouldnít you say?

Anyway, why would you combine cross-country skiing and shooting a rifle in the first place? I mean, if that makes sense, why donít we have an Olympic competition called "The Javelin Hop," where you throw a javelin then play a quick game of hop scotch? Or how about "The Volleyball Dig," a competition in which players play a quicksand volleyball match then pick up shovels to dig for clams?

My "Tub Spout Replacement" competition doesnít seem so weird now, does it?

Congratulations to all the Olympians. Youíve earned your glory. But if they ever add more sports competitions, Iíve got my hose and binoculars ready and rariní to go.

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