The Romney Olympics have long included a mini-triathlon of biking, swimming and running that pits Mitt and his five sons and their wives against one another. But after Mitt once nearly finished last, behind a daughter-in-law who had given birth to her second child a couple of months earlier, the ultra-competitive and self-described unathletic patriarch expanded the games to give himself a better shot.
Now they also compete to see who can hang onto a pole the longest, who can throw a football the farthest and who can hammer the most nails into a board in two minutes — not exactly the kind of events they’ll be giving out gold medals for in London this month.
Not even gold stars, actually. Hammer the most nails? Seriously? What a bunch of weenies.
The Carroll Family Olympics (CFO) – now that was a test of athleticism.
There were three events staged each summer at the Big House (Jack and Aggie, sole proprieters):
One-On-One Driveway Basketball
This started out as a fun-loving, family-inclusive event (thus the 30-second asthma timeouts for my hardbreathing sister Nancy and the no-blocked-shot policy for my height-challenged sister Diane), but ended up as a cutthroat affair (No autopsy? No foul!) resulting in a broken arm for my brother Jim.
A tougher version of water polo, in which you had to hit the lip of the pool with the ball. Multiple minor contusions ensued.
In-The-Basement Ping Pong
This event took place in the wee hours, under a wee bit of drink and whatever. Whoever wasn’t playing played the role of Commissioner, and there were any number of trick shots and whatever.
In the latter years of the CFO, my brother Robert tried to introduce a Bike Riding event, knowing full well I never learned how to ride a bicycle (hey! I learned to ride the New York subway system), and my brother Terence tried to introduce a Russian Novel Reading event (hey! I majored in Greek and Latin).
So the Carroll Family Olympics gradually faded away.
But it was always better than the Romney Olympics.