As I tossed a crumpled piece of paper in the wastebasket across the room, I cheered to myself, arms in the air, “Two points!”
But even though writing isn’t much of a spectator sport, I started daydreaming about what other sporting events could form part of an Olympic-level game for writers of all backgrounds.
The opening ceremonies would begin with poets, writers, editors, screenwriters, proofreaders and translators entering the arena, smiling and waving to a cheering crowd of spectators with an appreciation for the written word.
The athletes would gather on the field, in the centre of the arena, behind their national flags, taking care not to drop their notepads and laptop computers as they capture their thoughts on this momentous occasion.
The judges then enter the arena and gather by a symbolic pedestal of reference books, to take the oath to officiate with complete impartiality and to uphold the principles of good grammar and spelling.
Oprah Winfrey, the queen of book clubs around the world, would declare the games officially open with an enthusiastic, “Le-e-et the ga-a-ames be-e-egi-i-i-n!”
The events would begin with track and field, with writers competing in the javelin competition, in which they toss across the field useless pens that ran out of ink.
The triathlon is next on the schedule, where writers demonstrate their skills in writing, proofreading and translation, in completing a multilingual Power Point presentation in a tight deadline.
For the archery competition, proofreaders and editors attempt to hit a bullseye in finding the right words to complete an awkward sentence.
In the hurdles race, writers are asked to quickly complete a short story with a cat sitting on the desk, blocking the screen, and a child screaming “I’m bored!” in the background.
In the shooting competition, mystery writers must put their best foot forward in killing off the most characters within a given number of pages.
Over in the velodrome, the athletes are showcasing their skills at backpedaling on a bad idea.
Back on the field, in the relay, four writers pass the baton in a collaborative effort to complete a challenging writing assignment within a specified time.
In another venue, the authors are showing their skills at wrestling with their ideas.
In the high jump competition, writers demonstrate the leap of faith they must take in taking obscure ideas and turning them into viable stories.
The pole vault competition follows in which the elite athletes have an opportunity to raise the bar with innovative story ideas and concepts.
Back in the gymnasium, the trampoline competitors are bouncing ideas off each other, hoping to break new Olympic records for style and artistic expression.
Proofreaders and editors return to the field for a 5K competition, in which they need to turn a 5000 word run-on sentence into a coherent story.
In the lake by the Olympic village, the spectators are gathering for the sailing event, in which seemingly unrelated ideas come together, providing the breeze to propel the plot forward resulting in a story that is smooth sailing.
In the final gymnastics event, writers must demonstrate all of their writing skills sequentially in a series of desk exercises, with three loads of laundry on the go, a cake in the oven, the phone ringing and a chirping smoke detector in the background.
On the final day, the marathon runners enter the arena after completing a grueling 42.2K word essay.
In the closing ceremonies, Oprah returns to the podium to thank the hosts, the athletes, the officials, the volunteers and the spectators for making this event the best writers’ Olympics ever. She concludes by extending her best wishes for everyone, and inviting everyone to regroup in four years in the spirit of creative sportsmanship. With that said, she proclaims, “I de-e-eclare the ga-a-ames clo-o-osed”.
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