America suffering from 'Post-Olympic Letdown Syndrome'

Today I will speak on a serious topic one affecting most of the nation including myself.

It is a syndrome sparked by the absence of snowboarders on the halfpipe and cowbell ringers on the mountain Post Olympic Letdown Syndrome, or P.O.L.S.

P.O.L.S. has swept the nation as quickly as a Russian Olympian leaving Salt Lake City and is as unrelenting as an Australian speed-skating gold medallist.

P.O.L.S. is contracted soon after the Olympics are over and begins with an obsessive search across all TV channels for abstract sports played on ice or snow.

Once it is discovered there's nothing on TV, the syndrome then progresses into its next stage random scouring of newspapers for any World Cup event and the memorization of times and scores.

This stage of the affliction also increases the use of obscene words in describing how small NHL rinks are compared to Olympic rinks and usually starts out, "Too damn..."

The final stages are the worst because in a hallucinogenic state a P.O.L.S. victim will try to recreate an Olympic venue with whatever he has lying around.

Twice now I have hip checked ladies in the frozen-food aisles of Safeway, walking away muttering, "Frigging Canadians."

And just before the enormous sheet of ice in front of my driveway melted, I was using neighborhood kids as stones in a curling match. There must be something different about the brooms they use in the Olympics because I could only get the kid to slide five feet.

I knew I had come down with the syndrome a few days before the Winter Olympics were over Feb. 21 to be exact. That was the day I watched Britain (or a group of Scottish women, as they were) and Switzerland square off in curling's battle royale with Britain winning its first gold since the ice dancing triumph of 1984.

For three hours I watched the Scottish women, two of whom were indistinguishable from Scottish men, throw the 42-pound stones across the ice truly a moment for the ages.

That is when I had what alcoholics call a moment of clarity.

I had sunk too deep into the Olympic abyss and was heading for a fall.

Sure enough, after Scott Hamilton was done mincing on the ice with the Children of Light and all the flags had been carried in for the closing ceremonies, a deep, dark hole opened inside of me not to be filled again until 2006.

Never in the four-year stretch between Salt Lake City and Torino, Italy, will I see a luge racer, skeleton racer or bobsledder flying down bulletproof ice. Nor will I know how Apollo Ohno is progressing.

Sure I'll get to see some skiing, but not enough to counter the effect of P.O.L.S., I guess familiarity would breed contempt if the events were on constantly, but who's to say. There are people in Milwaukee who tune in to every Brewers game and that's pretty much like ice dancing on grass.

Oh well, the sun is starting to shine in the Yampa Valley and the chance to hook a trout will probably outweigh the urge to do aerials off my roof.

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