Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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A Salute to Olympic Fanatics…Like Me

Watching the Olympics“If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.” – from the movie Grease

Words to live by.

While the world has spent the past two weeks celebrating the 10,000 amazing Olympians that have converged upon Rio, there have been others of us who have dedicated ourselves to the watching of the Olympic Games. And, sure, those athletes deserve their time in the sun. They’ve worked hard to get where they are now, at the top of their game and the peak of performance. They are absolutely worth watching. However, no one seems to talk about the stamina and endurance it takes just to keep up with the Olympics! But I know, and maybe you do too.

  • We don’t record the Olympics unless we have to. We’d rather see it along with everyone else to “oohhh” and “ahhh” in unison.
  • Timing your bathroom breaks and meals just perfectly so as not to miss a moment.
  • While inspired by these incredible people to work out, we instead make the hard choice to order pizza. Because, don’t they need us there cheering for them?
  • Live Tweeting, Instagramming and posting on Facebook at just the right time, with inspiration, wittiness or sarcasm. You understand that its an art.
  • Bringing yourself to an insane level of sleep deprivation because you’ve stayed up late every night, and still rise early to watch the interviews at updates on the Today Show.
  • Crying, laughing, celebrating and mourning with all those athletes on a daily basis as events progress.
  • Googling countries you never knew existed, and are still a bit unsure about because you can’t figure out how to spell them.
  • Checking the websites and apps to stay current on other events because now you regret not buying that expanded sports cable package.
  • Reading up on the new sports, forgetting what some of the sports are and how they’re played, and trying to figure out which sports you might be good at.
  • Getting caught up in all the personal and amazing stories, and what it took to get to the Olympics.
  • Fighting off the desire to jump on a plane to the Olympics because all the commentators, visitors and TV anchors are having the time of their life.
  • Feeling a sense of patriotism, while also being so excited for other countries who overcame heartaches, won their first medals and broke personal records.
  • Deciding which country you’ll move to with low athlete counts so you can finally achieve your own dream of being an Olympian.
  • Judging the judges when they make the wrong call.
  • Ignoring friends and family because you’ve got this other huge thing to worry about.
  • Generating your Olympic Spirit at just the right time. It takes practice!
  • Quitting your full-time job in order to stay home and binge-watch the Games. (Just me?)

It’s exhausting, both physically and emotionally. But we’re in it for the long-haul (of two weeks).

So, I salute you, Olympics fanatic. I’m with you. I’m one of you.

And now I have to go because Primetime is about to start.

One more full day, then we’ll all be together-ish again in two years. Get some sleep! And go, #TeamUSA!

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Why Life Should Be More Like the Olympics

MedalsI LOVE the Olympics. Follow me on Twitter during those two weeks every two years, and you’ll easily see that. I have my own commentary going the entire time. (Not sure why NBC hasn’t noticed me yet.) I’ve always loved them. Summer. Winter. It doesn’t matter what’s on, I’ll watch it. In fact, I’ll wear myself out watching it, and love every minute of it. Attending one of each is even on my bucket list.

Those statements above may not seem all that interesting and unique. You probably know someone else like me. What is funny, though, is that those are the only sports I ever watch. And I mean ever. Being from Texas originally, and from the South almost my whole life, I’m strange in my circles that I don’t like football, and frankly, I don’t even know the rules.

But the Olympics—well, they are a whole other thing entirely. I really wish life were more like the Olympics. And here are just a few reasons why:

Togetherness. For those two weeks every two years, we are #TeamUSA. Our political party, race, religion, circumstances, class, etc., don’t matter. We are all one under the red, white and blue flag. We raise our voices and cheer in unison. We celebrate together. We mourn our losses together. We’re the United States, and I’m never more proud of us.

Sportsman-like conduct. Sure, you see some ego from time-to-time. But overall, these athletes see each other year-round and have friends from other countries. So you see them not only congratulating those on their own team, but the winners from other teams. And let’s face it, no matter where you finish, if you’re good enough to be at the Olympics, you deserve a pat on the back.

United Nations. The world stops to watch the Olympics. Leaders are on their best behavior, and good will is in abundance. I even love watching the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony. It’s so awesome to see athletes marching with the pride of their home country, waving to those in the stands and those back home. I think it’s the best showing of the United Nations we’ll ever see. We are one world, but we too often forget it.

Competition. I’m not one of those “everyone wins” type people. We learn when we win, and we learn more when we lose. Competition is good for us. We push ourselves harder when someone is racing us. We only know what a winner looks like when there’s something else to compare it to. Competition keeps things moving forward.

The best. The Olympic athletes are the best at what they do. And more than anything else, what they do is inspire me. I was telling a friend the other day that watching the Olympics reminds me of watching Cirque du Soliel—it’s amazing to see what the human body can do. They are incredible. I’m delighted to celebrate them.

Stories. I love the athlete profiles, learning about them, their homes, their families and friends. It doesn’t matter if they’re American or from somewhere else. Everyone has an interesting story—you, me and everyone you see on the street or on TV. It’s such a small window that we get to see into their lives, but it feels like such a privilege to witness. And…it really helps me choose who to root for. 😉

That’s why I love the Olympics, and think every day should have a touch more of that spirit. What about you?

 


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February Atlanta Events

459993477Ah, amore! It’s may be cold outside, but hearts remain warm inside. However, whether you’re flying solo or part of a duo, there are plenty of things to keep you busy in February.

Stay cozy out there!


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Getting Schooled by the #London2012 #Olympics

As I write this post, we are on the eve of the Closing Ceremony. So sad. I get so excited to hear that Olympic theme play on NBC, and it’s anthem will only be heard a couple more times hailing from London. I’ll miss the Today Show reporting from the IBC. I’ll miss seeing interviews with people who can confidently call themselves the world’s best trampoliner. I’ll miss Bob Costas tucking me in each night.

To say that I think the Olympics are cool is a major understatement. I’m a full on fanatic! I’ve always been that way. I commit to the Olympics. I’ll watch whatever NBC is showing–from badminton to table tennis to judo to cycling to volleyball to swimming to track and field. It doesn’t matter. I have my favorites, of course, but I’m tuned in for a solid two weeks to whatever they feel like broadcasting.

I’ve grown up loving the Olympics. The only thing weird about that statement is that I’m not what you’d call a sports fan. In fact, anyone who knows me would never put sports on my top five loves list. Correct that–they wouldn’t put it on my top 100 list. I never watch sports. I don’t attend sports events. I just don’t care for them all that much. Never really have. Maybe the amount of energy I put into them for two years every two weeks just doesn’t leave me any in-between. I’m fine with that. And really, when do I ever do what’s expected anyway.

One of the things I love about the Olympics are that, much like the conferences I love so much, they are an opportunity to learn. Strange, obscure facts as well as ones I probably should’ve already known. But here we are, coming to the end of London 2012, and I’ve yet again learned a few things that I’d like to share with you.

What I’ve learned about the world:

  • I watched an amazing runner from Eritrea, a country I’d never heard of. So I looked it up.
  • 2012 was the first year all participating countries sent both male and female athletes. The women from the three countries that had previously held out, Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia, served as an inspiring example and reminder to the rest of the world. Their performance at the games wasn’t nearly as important as their presence.
  • Despite our sometimes vast differences, sports provides a common language that can break down barriers. I loved seeing the camaraderie and sportsmanship between athletes. It wasn’t necessarily a revolution, but a good reminder as someone who usually pays no attention to sports.
  • People are incredible. From Oscar Pistorius to Hiroshi Hoketsu to Kelli Wells to Kirani James to Jessica Ellis to Manteo Mitchell to Oksana Chusovitina, the Games have been chocked full of remarkable people doing remarkable things. I am so envious, yet so grateful to the journalists who travel all over the world to find out the stories behind the strengths. They are indeed worth hearing.
  • The world is obsessed with the US. Best Friend Heather confirmed for me that, yes, no matter which country is playing you can count on American music being played in the background. I shudder to think about some of those artists being our ambassadors to the world.
  • The Games unite us as one globe. For two weeks, many of us from every nation around the world are huddled in front of our televisions to witness the next great act. Of course, we cheer on our home team, but we cheer for every athlete who has overcome great obstacles to be seen on our little screens. We celebrate with them. We cry with them. (Come on, you know you do too). We revel in the human spirit, no matter where it comes from.

What I’ve learned about the US:

  • 2012 was the first time that there were more women on Team USA than men. And they proved their worth by bringing home a majority of the medals.
  • We are competitive, and privileged, but hopefully not yet to a fault. I see some of these Asian and Eastern European countries competing, and hear what their athletes must give up in order to compete, and am thankful that those restrictions are not placed on our athletes (at least that I know of). One Asian gymnast had been home something like 17 days in the last five years or so. Another was “spared” news of the death of family members so that she could compete. Others are chosen as small children to live out the destiny that was made for them. Wow–so unfair. I can’t begin to imagine what our athletes give up to live their dreams, but at least they have the choice.
  • We rule the pool and women’s beach volleyball! I feel especially invested in athletes that compete in multiple games because it means their story is told numerous times, and I’ve probably seen all of them that take place during each Olympics. I was so excited and so proud to see Michael Phelps and Kerri/Misty go out with a bang. I’ve seen their major Games moments along the way, and was happy to have witnessed their journey. What amazing pieces of Olympic history to have seen, even from afar!
  • Team USA likes to have fun! They are very series and competitive athletes, but I love to see them enjoying life and the games as well. Thank you Today Show for many of those moments!
  • As technology increases, the uniforms decrease. I won’t lie; I’m a little afraid for what’s to come in Rio, especially since it’s the birthplace of the thong.

What I’ve learned about myself:

  • The reason I’ve always loved the Olympics are because I love the stories of the athletes. As a non-sports-watcher, I get sucked into the Games because every few minutes, interspersed between the swimming and the running and the jumping and the throwing, there is a triumphant tale off the field, which was many times, even more astounding than what the competition provides. It proves my theory than any person at any time in any place, has an incredible story.
  • I want to be better. Sure, watching the Olympics makes me feel old and out of shape and like I’ve done nothing with twice the life of most of the athletes on screen, but they also make me want to be better. Not necessarily physically, though that’s part of it, but just overall. You see the dedication that these people put into their craft. Their time. Their effort. Their heart. And it’s just plain inspiring. I want to be better. Better today. Better tomorrow.
  • My loyalty, like most everything else, is conditional. I usually start out cheering for Team USA, but then Bob Costas shows me the story of a man who is the first chance his country has at a medal, or a woman who is the first woman in her country to participate, or a man who could be his country’s first medal in gymnastics, or a small girl who’s got the weight of her country on her shoulders–and I crumble. I think, well, maybe this athlete could get a medal this time. USA already has so many. Or maybe, just maybe, there will be a tie for gold. It was fantastic to see Grenada, Botswana, Montenegro, Cyprus and Guatemala win their first-ever medals. I’m so happy for them!
  • I’m completely under the influence of the Olympics. I’ve been craving fish and chips for two weeks.
  • My tear ducts are Olympics-worthy. It’s amazing how many tears I continually shed for these people in two weeks. If Hallmark produced the Olympics, I would be an absolute puddle.

It’s been an amazing two weeks. I’m excited to see what London has in store for the Closing Ceremony. I loved the Opening Ceremony. Very British. Quite cheeky. It will be a lovely bookend to an unforgettable two weeks, I’m sure.

It’s on my bucket list to attend both a summer and winter Olympics. Luckily, there’s always one to save up for. My fingers are especially crossed for Madrid to win the 2012 bid.

Citius, Altius, Fortius. (“Faster, Higher, Stronger”)

It sure was.

And it will be again.

See you in Sochi!


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Olympic Efforts

Hello, my name is Kristi and I’m an Olympic junkie.

Seriously, I LOVE the Olympic games! I’ve been counting down the days till Opening Ceremony and am now thrilled that they are here. It’s something I’ve always been in to, which is ironic because I never watch any sort of sports. Mostly, I could care less, but there is something special about these games that draw my attention every two years. Actually, there are a few special things:

1. Average Joes – these athletes are in peek physical condition, yet they are the most like us regular people. They aren’t like pro athletes in that they have million dollar homes and entourages. There are very few with product contracts. And some of them even have to raise money or save up to be in the games. One family even talked about how they didn’t give gifts or go on a trip for Christmas so that they could spend the money to get to the games. Another female athlete pushed back her wedding date so her family could afford to both attend the Olympics and her wedding. These games have heart. They aren’t in it for the money, they are there for the love of the sport.

2. Good Stories – I actually really enjoy all the commentators at the events. They are able to provide the background on the athletes and countries, and they all seem to have such wonderful stories. I want someone to cheer for, and these people are handed to me. This gives me a greater connection to them because I now understand them better. I know where they’ve come from to get there. And it gives me the desire to cheer and root for them more, even if they are from other countries. I really want Canada to win a gold medal, because they have never won one on their soil, though this is their third time to play host!

3. Participation – I think it’s inspiring to see the countries show up to the Olympics that only have a few athletes competing. This year there were several with only one. I am glad they decided to come and participate, not with great dreams of winning but simply with the spirit of belonging. They still have as much right to attend as more developed countries but they have more obstacles to overcome, yet here they are. I think that is really cool.

4. Loyalty – Not that I’m an unproud American, but I probably never feel more patriotic than during the Olympics. It was nothing short of thrilling to see Michael Phelps win his record-breaking medal in the last Olympics. And it was just as exciting to see Apollo Ohno set another last night. I am proud to say that we are from the same country. I’m looking forward to cheering on many more of the same over the next two weeks. I have something in common with these people, and that is a great bond.

5. Perseverance – I often joke that if a movie is based on a true story, I have to see it because I know it’ll be good. Usually, these aren’t the movies that I would choose to see first, but I always know they’ll show someone overcoming adversity to do something incredible. It’s the same with the Olympics. I will watch basically any sport, even if I don’t know what it is or how it’s played, because there will be some amazing element to it. Someone will overcome adversity to stand on that platform and have a gold medal hung around his/her neck. They will triumph…and I’ll probably cry. There is almost nothing greater than seeing humans overcome odds to win.

6. Unity – I think one of the coolest things that happens during the games is the spirit of worldwide unity. Though we are competing against one another, we applaud each other’s efforts. We recognize and identify what it took to get to this place. We stand on common ground. It was heart-breaking to hear about the death of the 21 year-old luger from Georgia, but it was touching to see the world come together to mourn him and support his country.

7. Competition – I love a good competition. I’m a very competitive person, so I feel like these games are the height of competition. They are worldwide recognition of the best.

8. Knowledge – It seems like every Olympics there is a new sport, or even a new country, that I’ve never heard of. I really enjoy learning about the sport and what it takes to be good at it. And I always seem to learn more and more about the ones I’ve seen many times, or how they’ve improved it. We keep trying to be better, it’s in our nature.

9. Distraction – The Olympics are also just a nice break from the norm. They are this shiny, new, exciting toy we get to play with periodically. And before we have a chance to get bored with them, they go away. But just wait, they’ll be back!

10. Grandeur – Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves and I think the Olympics is one of those somethings. Every two years I have an incredible two weeks. I see history-making stories unfold. I am part of the crowd cheering for my home countries athletes. I was one of the 68 million people who watched the Opening Ceremony. I am holding my breath as finish lines are crossed. I remember moments from the past that are still talked about. I am glued to my TV as records are set, tears are shed, and medals are awarded. I was there. And it was grand.

See, now with all of those reasons, why wouldn’t I love the Olympics! They are these things and so much more. They aren’t just games, they are monumental.

Now I have to go…the news is almost over and the moguls will begin soon…