Race walking on my mind

If there was any doubt that we are hooked on the Olympics, it was cast out late Saturday afternoon. There we were – Jenny, Joe and I – glued to the TV screen, watching racewalking.

That’s right – racewalking. Until Saturday I had never even heard of it, but that didn’t matter. It’s the Olympics and that was what was being shown.
We watched a young man (I think he was 19) from China win the gold on a course that finished not far from Buckingham Palace. An announcer mentioned that the sport had been part of the Olympics since 1904. Who knew?
To the untrained eye (that would be me), racewalking looks like nothing more than walking fast. It’s almost running, but the rules require that at least some part of a foot be in contact with the ground at all times.
Of course, the reason we were stretched out on the couches watching racewalking was because we were all tired. We’d spent the day at school. Yep, it was the weekend before school actually starts, when the teachers – and their spouses and kids – frantically get their rooms ready for new classes.
The job Jenny always saves for me is taping laminated nameplates to the desks. Because she has a morning class and an afternoon class, each desk has to have two nameplates. As you can imagine, the teacher (that would be Jenny) wants everything done right, so there’s pretty much pressure to line them up perfectly and get them taped down straight.
The teacher also frowns on the helper (that would be me) leaving bubbles or wrinkles in the wide, clear tape. I blamed my non-gold-medal performance on some cheap imitation of Scotch-brand tape.
I’d gotten a quarter of the way through that job before Jenny decided she wanted to start the alphabetical seating on the opposite side of the room. Uh, oh, I thought, looking at all of the nameplates that would have to be re-taped. I quickly figured out that carting (no scooting on the fresh wax) the desks back and forth was easier than moving the nameplates. I think I medaled in the one-man desk carry.
I was less successful unpacking two big boxes labeled “The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books” that we had brought to the classroom from our garage. My son Jonathan, and later, Joe, loved reading these mysteries, so Jenny deduced that they’d be a good addition to her classroom.
Inside were a few of the books in the series, but most of both boxes were filled with other books and photo albums from Jenny’s childhood. The rest of the books are somewhere, but we don’t know where. Sigh.
By the time we got home late in the day, our choices were watching the Olympics or mowing the yard. All of a sudden, racewalking was looking pretty good.
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Friday Jenny and I started our Olympics watching a little late because we spent a couple of hours after work at Arts, Beats and Eats, the annual New Albany Main Street Association event.
It’s always a chance to check out the work of local artists and enjoy menu samples from some of the community’s best eateries.
We saw a number of friends and made a couple of new ones while doing too much sampling. We’re good at that. Yum.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.