World-Class Worry-Warts Gather for Carefulympics

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana.  This city, the capital of Indiana, is also famed as the “Amateur Sports Capital of the World,” a fact that explains its selection as the site of the world’s first Carefulympics Games.  “It’s a real feather in our cap,” says Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ewell Norton.  “I don’t wear hats, so I stick the feather behind my ear,” he says with a twinkle in his eye to assure this reporter that he’s only “joshing,” a Midwestern folk tradition of ironic banter.

“See?  I told you it was dangerous!”


But public health officials are dead serious about the Carefulympics, an event intended to underscore the importance of being careful, which has come under attack as COVID-related restrictions on personal freedoms have become the object of contentious protests.  “Haven’t we learned anything from the pandemic?” asks Marjorie Orthweiler, Head of Outreach at Marion County Extension Services.  “I keep my mask on in my car and in the shower, and I think you should too.”

The genesis of the Carefulympics was the realization by the Indiana School Nurses Association that many physical activities carry risks, which led to a petition to the state legislature to fund “demonstration” games to see if potential harms could be reduced or eliminated.  “I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the improvements we’ve made to a number of sports that were plagued by injuries ranging from skinned knees to actual deaths,” says Eloise Hart, the group’s executive director.  “If anybody gets hurt this weekend it’s going to be their own damn fault.”

The innovation game organizers hope will meet with the greatest acceptance worldwide is the use of airbags on soccer players, which should both cut down on concussions and reduce the practice of “flopping,” that is, injuries feigned by players in an effort to draw a penalty kick.  Soccer coaches and players are not enthusiastic about the proposal, however.  “You take away half my offense,” said Alejandro Norumbega, who plays midfield for the Freedonian National Team.  “I trained for many years to perfect my flop, and spent much money on acting lessons.”

Hearn: “Yes I coined the term–and I never got a nickel out of it.”


Indoors, basketball players are urged to use the “matador” defense, a term coined by Los Angeles Lakers’ announcer Chick Hearn.  “A good defender such as Dennis Johnson or James Worthy uses every part of his body–hands, arms, feet, et cetera,” says Mike Alaweski of Basketball Today magazine.  “A matador waves at offensive players as they go by him, maintaining a proper social distance at all times.”

“You can go 25 meters in under an hour in this bad boy.”

In the swimming and diving pavilion athletes are inevitably thrown together in a veritable crockpot of each other’s germs, so event organizers have urged them to wear super-safe diving bells rather than skimpy Speedos.   “Which is more important,” says judge Emily Northcutt, “coming in first or insulating yourself from a runny nose with time-tested 19th century technology?”

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