An ode to running in Manhattan. A Nike commercial that got to me. And Olympic swimming is dramatic again

And now, something that may or may not make any sense: A brief ode to running through the streets of Manhattan, which I’ve been doing for the past few weeks after moving there:

Voices shouting, laughing, scolding, consoling. Feet hitting pavement at a brisk pace. Horns honking, insistently, like a mother telling her insolent child to clean their room.
The street signs whiz by in a blur, numbers climbing higher and higher as I run up 1st Avenue. Fifty-seventh, 58th, 59th, after a while you’d think the streets would all look the same.
But each one brings a different landmark that I haven’t noticed before: A bodega with a bright sign; a nail salon with a really bad pun in the window; a yogurt place advertising raspberry creme swirl, whatever that is.
I keep moving and the sounds change. Here’s a dog barking, a guy in a suit yelling about his stock problems. A woman yells at her small daughter to hurry up and cross the street.
Some of this I don’t hear; I’ve got headphones on and Eminem or Survivor or Bruce Springsteen enable me to tune out a lot of the noise.
But some of the city’s cacophony cuts through any soundtrack, and that’s what I love.

The city is alive and inspiring, and time flies and muscles stay energized when you pass by so many people, doing so many different things, making a joyful noise all of its own.

**As usual during the Olympics, the sappy commercials get to me and tug at my heartstrings. I still love this one from Procter and Gamble from four years ago, that they’re re-running during the London Games. This one above, from Nike, is new, and while it’s not about the Olympics, per se, it’s still goosebump-inducing.

The best ads play on our emotions; this one does it beautifully.

**Finally, some Olympic thoughts from a wacky Wednesday in London…
— Say it with me now: Olympic. Badminton. Scandal. You’ve never seen those three words together, have you? But it’s true: eight players were disqualified for intentionally trying to lose matches, in order to get better seeds in the next round.

You’ve got to see the video of these teams trying to lose matches; click here for a bizarre two-minute “highlights” video of each squad trying to lose points on purpose.
— Haven’t seen that much of the Olympic tennis, but my eyes opened wide when I saw that washed-up Lleyton Hewitt nearly beat No. 2 Novak Djokovic before losing. A Federer-Djokovic Olympic final would be sublime.
— Another amazing finish in the pool in the 100 freestyle; American Nathan Adrian beat some Australian guy nicknamed “The Missile” by one-hundredth of a second.
I don’t know how you live with that, losing gold by such a tiny margin. If it were me, I think it’d eat me up inside.
— Big day in the pool Thursday; my man Ryan Lochte swims two finals, one in the 200 IM against Michael Phelps, the other in the 200 back, about 20 minutes earlier. It’s a brutal back-to-back but Lochte’s done it before. I predict he gets one gold, one silver out of it.

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