Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Table Tennis in the Olympics

This isn't a usual IBS - Boy blog entry, but I feel like I need to get this out on the internet someway. For some of you who don't know, table tennis is my favorite sport in the entire world. Well, let's just say that I have been disgusted with the television organizers for not televising table tennis enough.

I made it very clear in this post.

              With the London Olympics in our midsts, many people will tune in to their televisions to watch events that they are probably not used to watching. Some crowd pleasures include: the javelin throw, weightlifting, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, and the discus throw. However, caught in the middle of the Olympiad madness is the sixth most popular sport in the world: table tennis.  

            “Table what?” you may say. The sport - commonly known as ping-pong – receives little to no accreditation that it is, in fact, a real athletic discipline. In America and most surrounding countries, table tennis is regarded as a recreational sport with little to no competitiveness involved. Even in the Olympic Games, people consider this sport a joke – including NBC, the channel responsible for televising the Games of the XXX Olympiad. I was mortified to find out that the men’s finals of table tennis were only televised for twenty minutes, whereas synchronized swimming was televised for two solid hours.

            Why is this? Do people truly not realize the validity behind the sport of table tennis? Do they construe the sport as a fun pastime, but nothing more than that? These posed questions will never be answered by the Olympic organizers; because I am sure they have a lot more important things to do. Like, for instance, watch two hours of synchronized swimming. 

            Although the above questions go unanswered, there are a few more I can still ask. What is it about the sport of table tennis that makes you consider it non athletic? Is it the men running up and down the gymnasium at rapid speed, flailing their arms in attempts to spike a ball fifty miles per hour in a court that is four feet wide and four feet long from thirty feet away while diving on the floor returning a smash? If that is the reason, you need to strongly reconsider your definition of “athletic.” Most sports, if not all sports televised during the Olympics, simply cannot rival the fierce and competitive nature that table tennis is. 

            Not to bring different race’s into the mix here, but isn’t it always stereotyped that Asians rise to the challenge and dominate everything they attempt to do in life? Well, if that is the case, then why aren’t we watching them dominate table tennis? Are we too proud a nation to concede defeat to the Asians in just this one discipline? But, let’s be honest, if there was an American male in the table tennis finals, we’d be watching a lot more of the sport on television. Would it make primetime? No; but it would be televised. It still probably wouldn’t be on the air as much as synchronized swimming, however. 

            In the end then, no one can dispute the claim that table tennis is athletic. If a person claims that table tennis requires no athletic ability, then I strongly suggest they pick up a paddle and try to play it themselves. They may be in for a shock.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wisconsin Trip - Part 2 (Middle Three Days)

Note from the IBS - Boy: This is the second part of a three part series covering my trip to Wisconsin. In this particular edition I will discuss the three days of living in Wisconsin. Also, take a peek at part 1 so you feel more unified.    

Day 1: Nothing to Do
After waking up in a strange - but nice - bed at my friends' house, I began to notice something extremely abnormal: I was feeling well. How could this be? After all, I had just traveled two long grueling days in a car over 1,000 miles; I'm not supposed to be feeling well.

Usually this is the part of the post where I dash your dreams by telling you something like: "But, I began to get sick." Or..."My luck didn't last." This time, however, my health maintained for a long time. Believe it or not, I was feeling better than I usually do at my home. Maybe the Wisconsin fresh air is all I need! 

I quickly reminded myself that it was probably just wishful thinking and that I should come back to reality. Since I haven't been feeling well in the past couple of months, I decided that I should keep those thoughts to myself; I definitely didn't want to be jinxed.

For the first time in a while, the smell of bacon sizzling in a pan was heavenly - almost spiritual. My appetite began to come back to me, and I soon found myself gorging on scrambled eggs, cinnamon and pumpkin bread, deliciously crispy bacon, and a blueberry french toast casserole. It felt so good to eat normally again. I might pack on some excess weight if my appetite stays this way, however.

Most of the time from breakfast to lunch was spent watching the Games of the XXX Olympiad on NBC. With the intensity those athletes were putting into their respected events, my full stomach began feeling queasy. Maybe watching people row a boat for six minutes straight isn't such a good idea.

After watching the Games for three hours, it was finally time for lunch. Since I felt amazing, I decided to eat heavily. I know that it wasn't the best thing to do at the time, but what can I say? I felt perfect and I wanted to eat normally! 

Like breakfast, lunch treated my stomach and intestines very well. A tiny bit of burping followed my lunch binge, but that is to be expected when you eat 1,200 in one sitting. I was just hoping it wouldn't come back to bite my in the rear-end.

Fortunately, it didn't. Which was a good thing too, becasue I had a wedding to attend in three hours, and I had to feel perfect for this occasion. With all of the greasy food they were serving there, one slip up could cost me the whole vacation. Game face on.

The Wedding

Making it through the actual ceremony was not challenging at all. It was only a twenty minute service, so it didn't give me much time to think about any possible stomach issues. After all, pondering the plethora of things that could go wrong with you during a wedding service is not a very relaxing thing.  

The real challenge was the wedding reception where there was tons of unhealthy food, alcoholic drinks, sick people, and tons and tons of waiting - which is, indeed, the very thing I dread most. But, after two hours of waiting, our meal was served, and it actually looked quite good. 

After eating the entree with pleasure, I tried to resist the temptation of eating that wonderfully looking wedding cake. But, I succumbed to the temptation shortly after gazing upon the five tiered cake. Apparently my stomach spoke louder than my mind. 

Overall, the day went well – just like the day before. However, with a Sunday get together with some of my old friends looming, I was a little afraid my body wouldn’t respond well to the food I would be eating. Hopefully it could take just one last heavy meal. 

Day 2: Church and the Friend Get Together
I woke feeling great, yet again. What was happening? I wasn’t about to question my amazing health, however, so I walked downstairs into the kitchen expecting my poor appetite to be back. But, it wasn’t. In fact, it was even better than yesterday’s. 

Travelling back to my old church was a neat experience. I didn’t recognize too many people that attend the church anymore, but it was still fun to relieve the golden days – if you will. 

After the church service ended, my former friends and I went out to a burger joint to get some food and to discuss what has happened since I was last here. 

The whole time I was visiting with them, not once did I even think about being ill. Maybe it was the Wisconsin air that was making me feel so well. But, again, I told myself to shaddup and to start thinking realistically.  

When I returned to my friend’s house – the people who were housing me – I decided to go on a nice, long walk. It was the first time I had experienced my former neighborhood in four years, and I didn’t like the thought of returning to my current home; it was just too good here. Even though the walk was emotional, it did distract my mind from thinking about my illness. Then again, I wasn’t feeling bad at all, so I didn’t even know if I should’ve called it an illness at the time. 

In my usual synopsis of the day, I will say that it went very well. It was another day without pain which equated to another day with more gain. Let's hope tomorrow will treat me just as kindly...

Day 3: Absolutely Nothing to Do 
Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is one of the most fun things you can do. However, this was the type of nothing that lead to boredom and the questioning of your existence. At least my stomach felt well...

No, but seriously, there is nothing to write about on this day. All I did was say my goodbyes to people I wouldn't be seeing again and started preparing for the ride home the next day. 

The only thing I could hope for was a good night's rest without any interruptions from my stomach. If I could get that much, I would be absolutely fine for the return trip.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wisconsin Trip - Part 1 (First Two Days)

Note from the IBS - Boy: This is the first part of a three part series covering my trip to Wisconsin. In this particular edition I will discuss the two days of travel at the begging of the journey. 

Day 1
The day finally arrived; it was time to leave for the Wisconsin trip. Fear and horror clouded my mind as I realized four of the seven day journey would be full of travel. I felt hopeless - like someone jabbed a knife into my side, and I couldn't break free.

Eight o'clock was my wake up call. My bags were all packed the night before, so I didn't have too much to worry about. However, an extreme spurt of anxiety took me by surprise and started to make my stomach churn. This was shaping up to be a lousy day.

For breakfast I indulged - reluctantly - a bran muffin and half a bagel. It wasn't the best thing to eat right before a long trip, but it was about the only thing I thought I could keep down.

I made a big mistake, though. Instead of drinking thirty minutes after my meal, I had a whole cup of tea before my meal. In other words, my stomach was nervous and it had a belly full of hot tea.

"Oh no," I thought. "I'm going to throw up before we even get on the road at this rate!"

Fortunately, I was able to hold back and fight off the nausea. It looked like I had dodged another bullet - at least for now.

By eleven o'clock, around two hours after departure, my family and I began getting hungry. For some reason sitting in a car for hours really works up an appetite. Of course, I didn't necessarily have the largest meal for breakfast. But, I was glad to have regained my appetite.

Realizing that McDonalds wasn't the best place to stop for food, we decided on a near by Chick-Fil-A. After all, chicken is easy on the stomach, and I needed something light.  

From noon until five o'clock post meridian, I felt perfect. What a blessing! Maybe this wasn't going to be a bad day after all.

When we arrived at the hotel, after nine hours of travel, I had an awful gas cramp that I needed to work off. But, it was nothing compared to what I've been going through in these past couple of months - especially when I've been trapped in a car for the majority of the day.

Overall, day one was very successful. I could only hope that day two would be just as nice, except without the morning anxiety. Maybe I was hoping for too much...

Day 2 
Unable to sleep in the hotel room's measly beds, I spent most of the night counting down the hours until I would feel miserable in the morning. I wasn't really enjoying this game too much.

When morning finally came and I walked down to the breakfast buffet, the smell of food nauseated me.

"No! It's going to be another one of those days! Darn you chocolate muffin."

Anyway, I managed to scarf down a plate of nasty hotel fruit, one whole wheat muffin, one bran muffin, and five little potatoes. It was only eight o'clock in the morning when this was taking place, so I knew that by noon I would be starved.

Like usual, a sudden bout of nausea (anxiety-ish) hit me right as we were departing. Although it was a rough morning, I managed to thwart the nausea yet again and make it to lunch with minimal pains.

After eating at a KFC restaurant in Indiana, we began to travel closer to Wisconsin. However, the traffic jam at Chicago was unmerciful. For two hours we sat in the car and did absolutely.....nothing. The license plate game didn't work since we were surrounded by the same cars the whole time. Plus, I had a strong urge to go to the restroom. Shaddup.

By five o'clock central time, we finally arrived in Wisconsin. Fifteen hours of sitting really starts to wear on you.  Fortunately, I would be sleeping in a much better bed than last night's.

So, a monosyllabic synopsis of day two would be this: not bad, but not great. At least it went better than the last trip.