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Town Talk

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Obscure Sports Fever

Good morning, and welcome to Town Talk, where we say, “Pass the ibuprofen ” we’ve got Olympic fever!”

A rainy afternoon and a bit of early-morning insomnia provided a good opportunity to catch some of the lesser-known Olympic sports, sports that most Americans don’t even notice every four years unless it’s raining or they can’t sleep.



The strangest, by far, was something called handball. The last time we checked, handball was just like racketball, only for people who couldn’t afford a racket. This isn’t that, instead looking like the twisted love child of basketball and soccer after a “what-the-heck-happened?” night of drinking in the Olympic village.

The ball’s about half the size of a basketball, and people dribble the thing, but there are goalies, big goals and Astroturf.



Strange stuff.

Our middle-age staffers with creaky backs moan every time they see field hockey, especially when the players move the ball, Quasimodo-like, down the field with their too-short sticks. Sure, they’re great athletes, but we might make it 10 yards running all bent-over like that.

The coolest obscure sport, by far, has to be fencing. The women’s event on Saturday afternoon ” which our great country swept in medals, by the way ” sucked us in like a Hoover.



The competitors are all wrapped up in protective garb and helmets, so you can’t even see anyone’s face until the helmets come off. And the action is so fast and furious, even the judges can’t always tell who got in the first “touch,” even with light-up helmets that record strikes.

But it’s sword-fighting!

Better yet, every one of these women made some unholy yowl after every exchange that sounded like robot bobcats on meth.

So, more fencing, we say! It would be great as halftime entertainment during NFL games.


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