Friday, August 12, 2016

1681 Air Biles

This corner of the room isn’t big on sports.  We’ve railed against football, been put to sleep by baseball and refuse to watch any but the last five minutes of the last quarter in basketball. Even bikini volleyball doesn’t excite, though that may be a function of advanced age.

But every once in awhile, someone comes along who is so good he or she elevates a sport to art, to dance and in so doing rises above the game and pulls it higher, too.

Babe Ruth.  Fat, cigar smoking Babe Ruth.  Even though his home run record fell decades ago, he’s still king.  He’s who you think of when you think of home runs.

Michael Jordan.  Who can name a basketball player who even comes close?

Muhammad Ali.  A glorious beautiful man who made a brutal sport elegant.

Wayne Gretzky. It was like he teleported the puck into the net.

Now there’s Simone Biles.
Go on, admit it. Until the Rio Olympics you never heard of her.  

And what’s her sport? Gymnastics.  Gymnastics… who cares?  Watch her -- all four foot-nine of her and you will because you’ve never seen anyone else like her.

She stands on the edge of the mat like all gymnasts do, then seems to levitate on the spot while others need a running start.  But that’s the easy part.  She’s as fast as a pre-catalytic Corvette. So she spends more time in the air doing… doing…  Well, there are names for all of the mid air turns and flips and other moves she makes but only the pinwheel experts know what they are called.  Anyway, before landing she does more of them than anyone else has.  And better.

Half a day ago, Air Biles won the Olympic Gold for all around performance. And by a relatively and uncommonly large margin.

Nineteen years old. Raised by grandparents who later adopted her because daddy vanished early on and mommy was spending all her time with coke or meth or maybe both.

The grandparents got her into tumbling school early on, but she’d been jumping on and off furniture, fences and staircases long before that and with no training.

You look at this little mini woman and all you can say is “Wow! Did I just see what I thought I saw?”
Yeah, you did.

Today’s Quote: “...at times she is a very stubborn teenager.” -- Nellie Biles drawing laughs from herself and her daughter nee granddaughter Simone saying the second most important thing you can say about her:  she’s a regular, normal teen.

Grapeshot:
-Does the president have an actual key to the White House and if so, what happens if it gets lost?

-A weak Tornado touched down near Mattituck on New York’s Long Island the other day, but it found no trailer parks and fled quickly out to sea in search of aluminum boats.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

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