Friday, August 3, 2012

Losing Contact With Planet Janet

How did I not know this?
Olympic distance swimmer Janet Evans, my favorite female athlete of all time, came out of retirement - in November 2010.  She returned to competitive swimming.  I only found out about it today - when I thought I'd look for (and found) a Facebook fan page devoted to her.  How come I didn't hear of it then?
At the time she turned forty - in August 2011 - there were stories of her readying herself for the U.S. Olympic Trials.  She wanted to make a comeback in London.  What? How did I not know that? Was it because Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey at that time, and I was preparing for that?  
Look, I know I don't keep up with sports a lot, but this is different.  When Mark Spitz tried to make a comeback in his late thirties for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, I knew about it.  Everyone did.  Because he's not just another swimmer.  He's Mark Spitz! And Janet Evans is not just another female swimmer, she's . . . well you get the idea.  She's been setting records in her age group as a competitive swimmer since she began her comeback attempt? How did I not know that? Because it's easier to find a liquor store in Utah than it is to find a non-Olympic swim meet of any consequence on American television?    
I wanted to watch the Olympic trials earlier this year, but I kept missing them for some reason.  I would have seen Mademoiselle Evans in at least one race - and I would have obviously seen her lose.  But I would have seen her. How did I not know I would see her if I tuned in?  If Carl Lewis ever makes a comeback in track and field, I'll know about it!  Everyone will.  Again, how did I not know about . . . well, this?
Janet Evans is married now. That I knew.  But here's what I didn't know until today: She has a daughter. And a son.  She's a mom now.  How did I not know about that?
I give up.  Being a swimming fan in a stick-and-ball country like this one is like looking for someone to play chess with when everyone else plays checkers.
I mean, Michael Phelps swam a lot of races between the Olympics. And I know how I didn't know about that.

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