Tag Archives: swimming

St Patrick’s Day 2015 – Seein’ a little green

This is always a busy week here in Savannah. St. Patrick’s Day is like a mini-Mardi Gras for this town. For 12 years, Mrs. P and I organized, set-up and hosted a parade-watching “tailgate party” in a downtown square. This was a very intense project. When we first started doing this in 2002, the idea hadn’t caught on yet. You could show up at six or seven in the morning and settle into a prime spot. By the mid-2000’s, that changed for the worse. In recent years, it has involved getting downtown before 3 a.m. and picking a spot. We were not allowed in the square until 6 a.m. so we and other early-risers would line the perimeter of the square and negotiate with each other about where we would all set up. In a perfect world, it would be “first-come, first-served,” but the world is not perfect. Negotiating with the early risers was usually very civilized. However, there were always some folks who would roll up at 5:45, drop their stuff in the street and start pointing to one of the prime spots (on the perimeter) that someone else had claimed four hours earlier. At 6 a.m. the police blow a whistle and the rush would begin. It was usually all over in about two minutes. Then we would sit around, waiting for the sun to come up and trying to stay warm for the parade started at 10:15.

This was our party in 2013.

This was our party in 2013.

Last year, Mrs. P fell and broke her knee a couple of weeks before the event, which ruled out our ability to organize a party. No one else picked up the baton. Our children were both working and none of our friends had any interest. This year, Mrs. P was ready to get back in the game, but, again, we had no help. One 60+ year-old couple is simply not enough of a team to compete in the pre-dawn madness.

So, instead, Mrs. P and Poolboy put their heads together and decided we should have a parade viewing party at our house. (There is no shortage of live coverage on the local TV stations.) So that we did.

We’re not used to hosting parties that start at 10 a.m. on a weekday, but it all worked out. Everyone brought something to contribute to the food table. We had Bloody Marys and beer to drink, and a breakfast casserole, ham, fried chicken, potato salad, pasta salad, squash casserole and even green grits (a Savannah tradition.)

When the parade coverage ended around two in the afternoon, most of our guests retired to the patio (where many had spent the day anyway). The temperature was 85 degrees, which made it feel almost like summer.

Almost like a summer Sunday afternoon.

Almost like a summer Sunday afternoon.

The pool water wasn’t so warm, but that didn’t stop some of the children who were there. More power to them.

A couple of crazy ones.

A couple of crazy ones.

Hey watch this!

Hey watch this!

Beats me.

Beats me.

Mrs. P was trying to talk up getting back into the game in 2016, but she wasn’t getting a lot of encouragement. Depending on our children’s work schedules next year, we may be able to field a force sufficient to compete in the zero-dark-thirty land rush, but we’ll just have to see how that goes.

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Remember Al Oerter?

As long as we are on the question of the Olympics, let’s go to the next question.  Based on his collection of medals, is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian of all time? If medal count were the only criteria, I would say “no.” However, when you consider those medals were won over the course of three Olympics, including a world-dominating performance in 2008, I might vote in his favor.

The problem with looking just at medal count is that some sports, like swimming and, to a lesser extent, gymnastics, have a fair number of events (medal opportunities) that essentially involve the same skill-set.  For example, a dominant freestyle sprinter could win six gold medals by basically doing the same thing (swimming one stroke fast for a relatively short distance) in six events (50m, 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, 4×200 relay and the 4×100 medley relay).  He or she would not have to even attempt another stroke or any distance events.

How can you compare that to someone like Al Oerter? Anyone remember Al Oerter? I’m dating myself  here. Oerter was an American discus thrower, who won the Olympic gold medal in four consecutive games, 1956-Melbourne, 1960-Rome, 1964-Tokyo and 1968-Mexico City. That is amazing! But someone like Oerter could never rack up a medal-count like Phelps because there is only one discus event in each game. There is not a light-discus, a heavy-discus, a free-style discus, a discus-relay, a weight-throwing medley, etc.

So I think Phelps is certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest. I just don’t get hung up on the total number of medals to reach that conclusion.

So what’s on tonight?