How My Dad Won the Olympics

My family didn’t own a TV, so my dad would rent one for must-see events. To the best of my knowledge these included Operation Desert Storm and the Olympics.

We rented the TV set from Frank’s TV and Repair. It looked like the kind science teachers would wheel into classrooms on days when they showed videos about corral reefs.

I don’t really remember watching the Olympics so much as I remember having a TV. Because honestly, it was kind of unbelievable. We were a family known for not having a TV. In a small town, that kind of thing is attached to your identity. Kids would make fun or ask questions like, Hey, Espe, have you ever seen a movie?

Looking back, I wonder what sort of sales gymnastics my dad had to perform in order to persuade my mom to let a TV in the house. I’m pretty sure she was anti-TV because she was anti-worldly influence. With the Olympics, she let every country right into her own living room.

Well, technically speaking, the TV was in the dining room, propped up on a wooden chair facing the living room. My guess is that my mom didn’t want to rearrange the furniture. Didn’t want to let that TV get too comfy. Didn’t want us thinking there was a chance we’d transition from a TV-renting family to a TV-owning one.

All this reminds me that the Olympics isn’t just about athletes achieving seemingly impossible feats. To me it’s also about regular folks like my dad doing some pretty impressive stunts themselves. I mean, the odds were pretty much zero that the 1980 US ice hockey team would beat the Soviet Union.

But they did.

And in 1988 to get a TV past my mom and into her own living/dining room, the odds for my dad were pretty much the same.

But he did.