Pull the Plug

My phone didn’t ring in the middle of the night. Simone Biles made her decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics without consulting this fan. It’s probably good that she didn’t try because I make it a firm practice to not answer calls that aren’t in my contact list. She would just have gotten my voice mail and I wouldn’t have gotten the message until it was too late.

Not only that, but I would probably have given her bad advice.

As Bill was reading the news yesterday morning, he audibly gasped and his eyebrows shot up.

“What’s up?” I asked him. “Have they cured COVID?”

“I can’t tell you because you told me not to spill any beans in advance about the Olympics,” he answered. “You’ve never forgiven me for spilling the beans about Matthew’s death in Season 3 of Downton Abbey,” he added. “I don’t want to take the chance.”

But of course I would have had to live on Gilligan’s Island to not hear the news about Simone Biles during the day yesterday. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Professor on Gilligan’s Island would have rigged up a radio using a coconut and a bird’s beak and already heard the news.

The reason I would have given her bad advice is that my initial reaction to the news was negative. What are you? Some kind of poor sport who is so full of herself that she can’t bear to not look good? (See why I would make a good coxswain?)

But after I read a bit more about her announcement and listened to the news conference, and pretty much stopped getting my Simone Biles News from the gentleman with the eyebrows across the breakfast table, I understood. I guess, in her way, she actually WAS being a good sport. She was admitting she was stinking it up like Pepe Le Pew and was going to bring her entire team down with her.

Of course, she couched it a bit differently, saying her mind wasn’t in the right place to participate in the Olympics. I’m not going to touch on that not even a little bit. What I am going to say is that I think most athletes would overstay their welcome before they would admit that they are being a hindrance to their team instead of helping them win. I’m looking at you, Brett Favre (who also didn’t call me to get my thoughts on whether he should retire).

I have never been an athlete. In fact, the closest I’ve gotten to competitive sports was a few mean games of miniature golf with my family. Having said that, I can say with absolute certainty that had we been playing miniature golf in teams — and had I sent the golf ball flying into the street every time I hit it instead of into the alligator’s mouth — I would have resigned from our team.

So, good on Simone for knowing when to pull the plug. And most important, good on having the team spirit to not run and hide, but to stay and help and cheer your teammates on.

Don’t be afraid to call me next time.

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