Watching the Opening Ceremony from Beijing


Daniel and I watched the opening ceremonies for the Olympics Friday night.  I had to pry Daniel away from his computer, but he watched the entire ceremony with me from the drumming countdown to the torch lighting.  Daniel really liked the drumming (as did I).  When the show threatened to get a little tedious in its second and third hour, Daniel kept saying, “This part is boring.  They should just drum and start playing sports.”

While he watched some of the Olympics from Athens (and – technically – he was with me when I watched them from Sydney), I think this was the first Olympics he actually paid attention to.  He had a lot of questions which I did my best to answer.

  • Yes, people do live on Madagascar.  The animated movie apparently made that part up.
  • No, Georgia is not the state of Georgia.  They are their own country.
  • Yes, I know Bob Costas just called it the “State of Georgia”.  State is another word for country.  No, the state of Georgia is not a country.  It’s part of the United States.  It’s the same word, but it means two different things.
  • No, Puerto Rico isn’t its own country.  It’s part of the United States.  I guess they would rather compete for Puerto Rico directly rather than the whole US.
  • No, no one from the state of Georgia is competing just for Georgia.

Overall he liked the March of Nations.  That’s my favorite part too.  Daniel wondered how they were going to play sports in those costumes.  I explained they get to change clothes before the actual games begin.  Daniel kept asking me who all the marchers were and I kept replying they were the athletes from each nation.  He wasn’t satisfied with that answer and finally Daniel pointed to Burundi.

“There’s only supposed to be three athletes,” he said, “but there are more than that.”  He was right.  The Burundi group had seven people marching.  To be honest, I have no idea who the others were.  I guess they got really good tickets.

Daniel was very concerned about the torch ceremony.  “What if it goes out?” he asked.  I replied confidently they had a backup torch to relight it.  There was an anxious moment when Li Ning first took flight.  I hoped they did have a backup torch.  As he strolled around the top of the stadium, Daniel watched him carefully.  “He better not set his ropes on fire!”  Luckily, Li Ning did not pull a Wile E. Coyote stunt; he managed to avoid doom and light the giant Olympic flame.  Daniel sat up straight.

“Hey!” he exclaimed.  “They took that from the Statue of Liberty!”  I didn’t have time to respond before the flames lit up the stadium and the sky over Beijing was filled with fireworks.  Daniel just stared, gape mouthed at the display.

“Whoa.”

It was past 11:00 here in Belvidere when the opening ceremonies finished up.  Daniel got ready for bed and I tucked him in, covering him in blankets though it had to be 80 degrees.  I asked him if he enjoyed watching the opening of the Olympics from Beijing.

“Yeah,” he said.  “They were kind of show-offs though.”

I nodded.  “I think that was the point.”

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