Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Brent Hope: Olympic Swimmer or Spitter?

The Summer Olympics are just around the corner and they rank very high in my book. What could be better than watching the youthful exuberance of dedicated athletes from around the globe competing in such a noble event? Ahhhh...reminds me of my days as an Olympic Swimmer......not.
I was doomed as a potential Olympic Swimmer. When I smiled for the camera in the picture above I hurt my C4 and C5 vertebrae. It was never right after that so I had to hang up my royal blue speedo. I also lost an Oat Bran endorsement because of it. BLAST!
Truth be told. When I was in third grade I attended Starlight Park Elementary School in Phoenix Arizona. During the "graduation picnic" held at the end of the year I entered myself into the "Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest." There were many contestants who made fools of themselves with their lame spitting distances. I eagerly waited in line for my turn. Most of the kids were spitting their seed to distances of 4-5 feet. This had the judges a mere 7-8 feet in front of the contestants. When my turn came I spit my first seed clean over the judges head. I'm telling you it was still going up when it passed her. In a statuesque pose I watched my seed fly and land some 20 feet away.
The judge looked at me blankly and pausing she said, "Did you spit your seed yet?"
I was aghast! My eyebrows hit the top of my scalp and my mouth opened wide. (Really wide)
"Are you kidding me? You didn't see that?" I protested.
"Where did it land Honey?" she said in a defusing tone.
"Way behind you." I said, still a bit frantic.
She smiled as if to say, "sure it did."
She had missed it completely. I was so offended. "What kind of "games" were these?" I wondered. My head spun at the inadequacy of this volunteer judge. "Crud" I muttered softly through gnashed teeth.
"Would you like to spit again Dear?" She said.
"GIMME THE SEED!" I demanded with hand outstretched. Pinched in expression she handed me a new watermelon seed. I popped it in my mouth, swished it around mixing just the right amount of saliva with it. This seed was lubed and ready.
"Are you ready?" I said sarcastically muffled with my mouth half closed to keep the seed wet.
The judge moved out of the way and extended one arm out "Ed Sullivan" like.
Now, I'm not going to lie to you...I was worried. As I stood there at the line with seed in mouth and eyes steadily fixed into the distance I began to wonder if I had it in me to spit the seed 20 feet again. Tons of thoughts raced through my head. Images of that catastrophic skier guy on "Wide World of Sports" swept through my mind as I could hear the words "agony of defeat."
I wiped my brow and just as I was going to spit the Judge tried to nudge me on.
"C'mon Sweetie, go ahead," she persuaded.
I slowly glanced her way through narrowed eyes accompanied with a hard outward breath through my nostrils.
"Yeah Lady, if you would have been doin' your job...." I thought.
OK. It was time. I reared back...arched....and slung my trunk, neck and mouth toward the field. "Paaahhhhttttoooooiiiii!" The seed screamed out of my mouth with a hard buzzing sound; corkscrewing into the distance and finally landing some 28 feet away.
"Goodness," said the female judge, definitely amazed as she ran after it with her measuring tape.
"Yeah Baby!" I shouted, with a fist pump.
My efforts that day won me a single serving "Hershey's with almond" bar. I sat under a nearby tree and unwrapped my award. As I brought the sweet chocolate to my lips (my award winning lips) I pondered third grade, athletic competition and life in general. Nodding yes to myself I thought, "Life is Good."


Lewis Family said...

The original Marc Andrew Spitz.

Nice suit.

jessie said...

that was a marvelous story dad. i didn't know you could spit so well!

sarah hope :] said...

HAHAHAHA!!!! THAT WAS RETARDED!!!!! HAHAHA. dad your so funny

jeremy said...

The story was great, but seeing you in the speedo really tied your blog together, man.

Sonja said...

pictures AND story.

clistern said...

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't that second pic taken as you were breaking the world record for the most amount of times a swimmer looks for the camera during a race?