Two days before the Opening Ceremony, the 2008 Olympics quietly kicked off with six first-round women's soccer games. I mean football games. The U.S. versus Norway match was televised on MSNBC, and Norway scored two goals in the first five minutes. Surely the U.S. women could score that many and more in the remaining 85 minutes.
But they didn't. And I found myself riveted to the TV watching a sport I'm not usually vested in. I've tried watching World Cup and other league matches in the past, but it's usually countries like Brazil versus Germany, and I don't much care who wins.
I had forgotten that during the Olympics, I develop sudden interest in any sport where U.S. athletes are competing. When the red-white-and-blue is in play, jingoism runs high.
The U.S. women kept the ball in Norway's territory. Why couldn't they just score?! I wondered, then chuckled to myself when I realized that my heart was pounding, and I had lost track of time. My sick cat was due at the vet, and we would be late.
The U.S. could still win, I heard the announcer assure viewers as I shoved the cat into the carrier. "It's a long tournament," said another, as I turned off the TV.
Video of the entire game is available on nbcolympics.com, complete with slo-mo replay of the goals and a pause button.
Over the next 19 days, I'll have to remember this feature, so I don't keep everyone waiting.
Peggy Shinn is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org. This blog was not subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee or any National Governing Bodies.