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Illusion of grandeur - Joel Hall

I love watching the Olympic Games. Growing up, I always envied a friend whose parents traveled every year to see the games, no matter where they were.

The Olympics appeal to my individualistic nature. As a kid, I was always the person who had trouble sharing the box of crayons. In middle school, I was the one who would rather do the whole group project myself rather than have somebody else mess it up.

In high school, I had almost completely drifted away from team sports. Rather, I excelled at sports such as billiards, swimming, and eventually boxing.

Those are probably also the reasons that I am a writer. Somewhere deep down inside, I like the idea of going against the world with no one to blame for my mistakes except myself. That's why the Olympics is the only televised series of sports I give my complete attention to.

However, the Olympics is also tragic for me, because it reminds me of my limitations. Usually after every Olympics, I try my hand at some new, difficult sport and end up getting myself injured.

After watching the Winter X Games one year, I decided to take up snow boarding. It wasn't a complete failure, but I did end up having to get three magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of my knee.

While living in Japan, I tried to take up judo at the Japanese high school where I was working as a English teacher. Getting to toss around my students was fun and satisfying, especially after a particularly fruitless English lesson. While I didn't see it through, I once considered using my time there to train for the Olympics.

However, I am 26 years old, and for the first time in my life, my age is starting to bring about limitations. While I am not a senior citizen, I am beyond my prime to begin training for many sports.

There is no way I could be a gymnast. You basically have to start doing your tumbling routines out of the womb. I thought about being a boxer, but I have too many hobbies which require the work of skilled hands. I also don't want to end up like the "Million Dollar Baby."

There are a lot of league sports for older gentlemen like myself, however, I run into the problem again of not being able to share the crayons. If I go down in the first round, I, at least, know that the game wasn't lost on a bad pass or a fumble by another teammate.

If I start training for the Olympics now, perhaps I'll be able to compete in 2016. By that time, perhaps they will have more sports that are middle-age friendly. I could easily see myself doing something like Olympic Frisbee, hot dog eating, or dominoes.

Or maybe I'll get myself back into judo, and actually see myself competing in some real Olympic sport. If George Foreman, Robert Parish, and Brett Favre can give younger guys a run for their money, perhaps I can, too.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.