I love fluff.
I could start with a long introduction, but I prefer that three word topic sentence. It pretty much sums me up.
I love fluff. Any kind. The pre-game packages that KU video students put together for basketball games. Repetitive Sarah Dessen novels where the slightly-messed-up-socially-awkward girl always gets the edgy-misunderstood-exceptionally-attractive boy. Every single Nickelback ballad.
Sometimes, being so obsessed with fluff can be an emotional struggle for me. I’m a Harbinger staffer, right? Aren’t I supposed to be at least somewhat indie? How can I have more Nickelback than Bon Iver on my iPod? How can I be reading Dessen instead of Kerouac? How can I be watching “So You Think You Can Dance” instead of “Downton Abbey?”
Yes, it’s shameful. But it’s my life. And this summer, I was given the biggest, most fluffy present of all time: the Olympics.
Every one of the Olympics is filled to the brim with the fluffy sob stories of athletes from around the world. But this year outdid any other year that I’ve ever heard of.
Just from checking the Yahoo! news page covering the Olympics, I had a feeling I might get a fluff overdose. I had no idea what was coming.
For two weeks, I was caught up in a whirlwind of success and letdowns, medals and losses, close saves and huge wins. I sacrificed my preferred nightly quota of nine hours of sleep to watch even the most random of sports – water polo, synchronized diving, handball. Even the absence of “So You Think You Can Dance,” one of my favorite fluffy reality shows, didn’t bother me.
It’s not just that I love watching the sports. I do love that- I’m a jock all the way, and I love seeing each nation’s top tier athletes compete. But for me, my favorite parts of the Olympics come in between the actual games.
I love the Morgan Freeman Visa commercials, the Dove “Thank You, Mom” commercials. I love watching Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe try to turn cartwheels after winning a soccer match. I love seeing a gold medal cyclist bring her son up on the podium. It’s the in-betweens, the oh-so-fluffy in-betweens, that make the Olympics truly special for me.
The day the Olympics ended, I was heartbroken. That is, until I saw the one and a half hour “London Gold” special recorded on my DVR that recapped the “most memorable moments of the XXX Olympiad.” Upon sighting this gem, I simply curled up on the couch with a happy cry of, “It’s so fluffy, I could just die!”
Yes, that actually happened.
The show started with a minute of priceless Olympic moments, from the opening ceremony’s torches to Michael Phelps’ last swim. And of course, it was set to a poppy Justin Bieber song. I almost melted. Then the real magic, directed by Masters of Fluffy Announcing Bob Costas and Ryan Seacrest, began.
In an hour, I had reached several conclusions:
1.) The easiest way to make anything fluffier is to put lots and lots of clips into slow motion. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings sliding into a hug after winning gold. Hope Solo leaping over a defender to punch a ball through the air. Michael Phelps stepping out of the Olympic pool for the last time. Slow anything down and it seems that much more intense.
2.) Usain Bolt is not as arrogant as I used to think. He’s as fluffy as a longhaired kitten and was put onto this earth– somersaults, pompous posing and all– to satisfy my needs for fluff and exuberant sportscasters’ needs for name puns.
3.) Missy Franklin is the definition of fluff. I fell in love with her over the “Call Me, Maybe” video, which I’ve watched at least 20 times in the past month. But the real winner for me was her comment as she put her first gold medal around her neck at a press conference- “Isn’t it pretty?”
I’m pretty sure other nations just don’t make athletes that cute.
4.) Olympic men’s basketball is not fluff. It’s not even fair. It wasn’t even fluffy enough to make this NBC fluff-athon, because winning games by 50 points is simply disgusting. Awesome, entertaining and extremely satisfying, but disgusting nonetheless. You know the cards are stacked in your favor when opponents are taking their shoes off after they lose so that Kobe and Lebron can sign them.
5.) I don’t think any Olympics can live up to this one. No, the opening ceremony wasn’t as awe-inspiring as Beijing, but everything else set the bar pretty high. Record after record was broken, in the pool, on the track and in the medal count. A man without legs still managed to make a name for himself in the athletic world. The last bits of racial barriers continued to crumble as the first African-American woman won the gymnastics All-Around.
And all of it was led by the United States, every one of them grinning as they lived up to and beyond expectations.
As Bob Costas said, this Olympics was “better than advertised.”
But alas, even that golden 90 minute special had to end. And despite the fact that the recording remains on my DVR, I had to kiss my wonderful Olympics days goodbye, at least for the next four years. For now, my need for fluff will be contained to Fox, Sarah Dessen and occasionally blasting some Nickelback- when no other staffers are around to see.