When my siblings and I were growing up, we had "rabbit-ears" on our television. I rarely kept up with all the shows my friends at school talked about, as the five local stations that came into our little glass box usually did not show them. While my friends were watching people get slimed on Nickelodeon, I usually was watching a heart transplant taking place on ER.
But, once every two years, whether it was in the summer or the winter, our entire family would sit together to watch a phenomenon that everyone was talking about. The Olympic Games was something we would all watch a portion of or, at the very least, retell portions of over bowls of Wheaties in the morning.
An avid sports fan, watching the Olympics is something I look forward to each go around. Some sports I really do not understand - i.e. trampoline, equestrian dressage and the winter biathlon - while there are some I still do not understand, but like to pretend I do - i.e. curling, swimming and cycling.
Even if you are not watching the games in Rio taking place right now, it's hard to miss its splendor. Between television, newspapers and even within restaurants, references to the Olympics are everywhere - and people are talking about them.
The memories of the games last long after the closing ceremony. I still remember the Athens games in 2004, when the medals were changed to show the Greek stadium, Panathinaiko Stadium, rather than the Roman Colosseum to accurately align with the Olympic Games history. In 2008, the Games were held in Beijing and 43 world records were broken over the course of the events. Additionally, Michael Phelps is remembered for taking home eight gold medals that year, the most ever in a single Olympic Games.
For someone who is a bit of a sports junkie, the Olympics is a time to see the best of the best compete at their craft. All eyes are on the athlete, some in the stadium where the competition is held, while millions of viewers tune in across the globe. It is a time when differences amongst countries are overlooked in the friendly competition of good sportsmanship.
I have occasionally joked that the Olympic Games to sports fans can be equated to World Dairy Expo's draw for the dairy industry. Much like the best athletes head to the stadium, the best cows head to the ring. Some watch from the coliseum while others watch on live streams back home. Just like Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps, Michelle Kwan and Jesse Owens are memorable Olympic athletes, the dairy community recognizes infamous Expo winners like Frosty, Hailey, Snickerdoodle, Veronica, Nadine and Monay.
Although some might not get as engrossed in these competitions, others such as myself, are mesmerized by the level of expertise the competitors reach. Olympic athlete or Expo show cow breeder, they are the pinnacle of their craft. If you are celebrating an athlete's win in the Olympics, a winner in the ring or your success in the barn back home, you'd be surprised the people who are rooting for the very same thing. Sports or cows, they both bring people together.