HARRIS: Dive into some lesser-known sports with Summer Olympics

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The points were long and grab-your-seat intense. Yes, you can work up a sweat playing table tennis. The building, which held about 5,000, was packed. When the Swedish player won a point, it was like a party in the stands complete with horns, chants and flag-waving. When the Chinese player won a point, the other side celebrated just as hard and was just as loud. When the match finally ended, with the Swedish player pulling out the victory, I felt like I needed a nap.

No time to rest. A men’s field hockey match between India and Pakistan awaited. Yes, men do play field hockey. Yes, they play it pretty well. Especially in India and Pakistan, two countries that don’t like each other very much. The crowd, faces contorted with a wide variety of emotion as the ball flew to and fro on the pitch, was as much fun to watch as the game.

Other events in the “media decathlon” included synchronized diving, baseball and gymnastics. I learned some physics while watching synchronized diving. Regardless of their weight, two divers will fall at the same speed. It was much more fun than standard diving. Competitors were judged not only on how well they dove, but on how well they dove in sync with their partner.

I did not see shooting. Not sure how much you can actually “see” with that anyway, but I wanted to try. The competitors each take 150 shots at moving targets in skeet shooting, and a U.S. entrant told me in Atlanta it usually took a perfect score of 150 to get into a “shoot-off” for a medal. Seriously? You can’t miss once?

These people are good, no matter what the sport. Take advantage of the opportunity to see them. You won’t be disappointed.

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