Gardening as an Olympic Event | Living with Gleigh
By GRETCHEN LEIGH
Covington Reporter Columnist
August 13, 2012 · 10:28 AM
I have been intensely watching the Olympics for the last couple weeks. But I have to admit, I had to cut back my viewing time the beginning of the last week. I hadn't been sleeping well because I was going to sleep too late after watching TV, my muscles were atrophying from sitting too much, and the suspense of wanting our teams to win was keeping me on a constant, nervous edge. Heck, I've avoided driving with my daughter while she is learning to drive because I can’t stand the suspense of the outcome; that is an Olympic event for which her father is much more suited.
I'm not the type of person to watch suspenseful movies, so watching some of my favorite Olympic events was unnerving me. I mostly enjoy swimming, the women's team sports and gymnastics. I can handle watching gymnastics and track without too much angst, they are over fairly quick; it’s the team sports that make me grind my teeth. So when I sat down to watch the semi-final beach volleyball match with the US’s Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh against China, I caved: I looked up the outcome online.
This is unusual for me, because although I don’t like sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation, I won’t even look ahead to the end of a suspenseful book. But I have to say it was rather enjoyable knowing the outcome of that volleyball match and watching how it played out. One morning I woke up stiff and sore like I’d been playing beach volleyball myself. I decided turning the TV off earlier and looking up medal results online wasn’t quite enough for complete sleep restoration. What I needed was to get some exercise of my own before I sat down to watch athletes compete for gold. So two mornings in a row, I took a 30 minute walk.
Then the next morning I decided I needed to get out into the garden.The morning was overcast and cool and my garden was in dire want of weeding, plus I had to take advantage of cool days before summer realized it wasn’t over yet.As I was out in the garden working and sweating I wondered why gardening wasn't an Olympic event.
While I was weeding away, I thought of all the tasks that often take Olympian endurance and how they could be judged:
Weed pulling: judged by number of weeds pulled or by area covered.Pruning: judged by speed, neatness, precision and accuracy.
Slug handling: I like throwing my slugs into the street. The slugs and I have a deal: if they stick the landing and can crawl back into the garden without getting run over, they get another chance. I also know people who cut them in half and throw them in the compost, or just throw them in the compost whole. Can be judged by distance if you chuck them into the street or by ability to endure disgust (salt is not allowed); maybe it should be a gloveless event.
Bee endurance: judged by how fast you run away, how few stings you get when weeding around a bees nest, or for the toughest of gardeners, ability to weed in spite of bees.
Planting technique: judged by speed of placing plants, fertilizing and watering.
Garden design: judged by artistic placement, different textures, how viable the plants are for the climate, spacing, shape, and overall esthetic balance of the design.
Finding hand tools in a compost bin: judged on speed and how many tools you find (points off for being the one to lose them in there).
Noxious weed attack: judged by technique and knowledge of the best way to get rid of each type of noxious weed for the country in which the Olympics are held; because one country’s noxious weed is another’s prized plant.Hole digging: judged by depth and speed.
Composted dirt spreading (or putting your garden to bed for the winter): judged by precision and balance around plants and amount of earth moved. I use bags of steer manure/compost blend, so this event could either have a truck load of loose dirt or be judged by number of bags emptied.Raking: judged by weight of leaves gathered.
Deadheading flowers: judged by speed, neatness and area covered.So I'm going out to practice more. I'll see you in Brazil in 2016.
Contact Covington Reporter Columnist Gretchen Leigh at firstname.lastname@example.org.