Pine Nuts: Let the games begin |

Pine Nuts: Let the games begin

The spectacle of this summer’s Opening Ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympic Games is scheduled to commence on Friday, July 23, at 4 a.m. Tahoe time. I already have my alarm set for 3:30. There are two kinds of spectators of Olympic games, spectators, and those most intense of all lookie-loos, the athletes who tried out for the Olympic Games, and did not make the team.

Having failed to make the team back in 1964 I flew to Tokyo to take-in the Games as a dyed-in-the-wool lookie-loo. I watched everything every day, and when night approached I headed for a sushi shop in the Ginza, and watched everything all over again on TV.

We can’t fly over to Tokyo this year because of the lingering pandemic, but luckily we can rely on coverage NBC will be providing from July 23 through the 8 of August.

Given the opportunity, I would fly to Tokyo just to witness the Double Yurchenko Pike that Simone Biles is planning to throw, a thing never attempted by a woman in the Olympics. And too, this year the Games will feature surfing, skateboarding, karate and rock climbing.

I, for one, will not be watching the rock climbing however. The first time my mother laid a hand on me in punishment was the day I tried to climb up onto the kitchen table, and I’m so glad she did that or I might have ended up being a rock climber myself. To this day I cannot stand on a five-foot rock over-looking the lake without covering my eyes. To my mind, rocks were not made to be climbed upon. But now, had they featured surfing in the ’64 Olympics I might have had half a chance. I never saw a wave I didn’t like, though I did get pummeled one day by a rogue Maui wave that held me under water longer than I could hold my breath, and the next day I sold my surfboard for five dollars and moved to Lake Tahoe.

The sport in which I failed to make the team was three-meter springboard diving, and I might have made the team had I not met a pole-dancer in New Orleans the night before the Olympic trials. As it turned out, I did get to witness with pride the Olympic medal sweep of Ken Sitzberger, Frank Gorman and Larry Andreasen for Team USA.

The one thing I purchased during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics that I still have is an Olympic coin that I purchased for my mother. It has a handsome image of Mt. Fuji on one side, and “1,000 yen” on the other. She loved it, and because it was hers, it means so much more to me now that she is gone. I shall keep it where I can see it during the Summer Olympic Games starting soon in Tokyo, Japan. Let’s hope & pray everybody stays healthy. “The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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