For the next couple of weeks we’ll zone in on those ‘once-every-four-years’ sports. Call it Haley’s Comet, Jr.
Welcome to the Olympics.
Sure there’s traditional basketball, tennis and golf, but admit it, outside of these two weeks how much swimming do you DVR? And unless you’re a weightlifter or the parent of one, it’s probably not on your daily diet.
The exception to the rule is beach volleyball. We move on.
In watching the Olympics, it’s very clear that these games fit Alaska’s personality as well as any state in the union. Sure, we have only four athletes with local connections in Rio — not even close to California’s nation-leading 125.
But it’s because of what we don’t have. None of the major professional sports: baseball, basketball, football or hockey have teams here.
Add in the states with universities which have a Division I college football or basketball team and that leaves one state in the country — Alaska. We’re it.
Don’t get me wrong. UAA and UAF sport some terrific teams. But it’s the diversity of other sports which make us — here it comes — uniquely Alaskan.
And once the winter sports like skiing get involved, Alaska becomes more than a mention. We’re a focal point — thanks APU skiers. From the Iditarod to Mount Marathon and a bike or road race every weekend until it snows (and even when it does), we embrace the non-traditional as well as anyone.
It’s one of the reasons we live here. It’s one of the reasons why Alaska and the Olympics are a great match.