The Olympics make me sick. Not that I don’t enjoy the Aussies in action. It’s just that over time, the Games have been bad for my health.
The trend began in 1996. I was fighting fit, living in Cairns. With a connection to some wonderful Australian Olympians.
Atlanta was the host city that year. And for the first time, softball was an Olympic sport.
Before making their way to the U-S, the Aussie girls headed to the Far North for a training camp. I was lucky enough to cover their preparation, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive bunch.
I was ready to follow their plight with interest. Perhaps with a small wager on them winning a medal. Until I started to feel unwell.
It started with a headache. And no, cruel friends, it wasn’t self-inflicted.
This was a throbbing jolt. Like a sledgehammer. The only thing that took my mind of it was the fact that I was in pain all over, and sweating like the dodgy bloke in Casablanca.
Being a male, it goes without saying that I have incredible powers to absorb such suffering. And of course, not complain at all. But this was something else. I gave serious thought to the music they’d play at my funeral service that week.
It got so bad that I needed medical help. The doctor, also a male, offered his sympathies. His expert opinion was that I had come down with the dreaded dengue fever.
That was, however, until the first spot came out. An angry red blob on my head. Followed by others, across the length and breadth of my poisoned body.
Cancel the tropical fever alert. This was a case of the childhood disease, Chickenpox.
I’ve never felt so sick. And, when the spotting ceased, the feeling of death was replaced by an itch that could send the toughest of men to the rubber room.
The timing of my illness meant I was confined to the couch for two weeks. The very two weeks that the Olympics were on the small screen.
So I sat there, feeling sorry for myself, and scratching every dot of skin that I could access with untold vigour.
The only positive was that I could cheer the Aussie softballers at all hours of the day and night. They won bronze.
I managed to stay healthy for the next few Olympics, until the flame was being prepared to be lit in Beijing. Then it all went downhill again.
The surgeon’s knife was out. To fix a sinus complaint that allowed me to pick up any flu bug that was going. It also produced more of those headaches, when someone so much as uncorked a bottle of vino.
The solution was an operation. I was hesitant, until he explained that it would allow me to enjoy the odd wine tipple, without having to hide in a dark room the following day. Sign me up doc.
The procedure was done, just days before the 2008 Games began. So it was off to the couch again. To cheer the softballers in their final outing as Olympians. The sport was ditched, so we could all enjoy female boxing. Go figure.
A few differences to my suffering that time. Instead of an itch, I had several tonnes of cotton wadding up my snoz. I will spare you the finer, gory details. Needless to say, it was something of a horror movie when they produced the industrial pliers to remove it.
Which brings us to London. No dramas just yet. Although I do have a cough. I hear there’s a nasty bronchitis going around. TB even. That would be just my luck. Getting sick, when there’s no softball to watch. I’ll keep you posted.