So I enjoy watching the Olympics, especially the summer games. I’ll watch pretty much anything that comes on, even if I don’t follow the sport at any other time. I’m just excited about watching the Games. With the exception of cycling and some college basketball, I don’t follow any sport, so that means I don’t know too much about the athletes and their events. So last night I was expecting McKayla Maroney to win the gold medal in the vault because the announcers were telling me that she was the best vaulter in the world, miles better than even the male champion, and the judges watch her vaults with their mouths open. So I gasped when she landed on her bottom and felt bad for her when she got the silver. And I laughed seeing her epic Bitch Face at the end and made the (I’m sure unoriginal) joke about her winning the gold medal in the Bitch Face event.

It’s not surprising that she’s getting all sorts of negative attention for her perceived bad attitude at winning the silver medal because we place great value on the idea of being a good sport, but I don’t think she’s that bad. It’s not unusual for silver medalists to be upset that they messed up just enough to lose the gold. Look at the Russian gymnasts who lost to Gabby Douglas in the all-around competition. She was probably monumentally upset at herself for falling on her butt. Plus, I think it might be just be her look. I noticed on the night they won the team gold that she gives great Bitch Face and there was nothing for her to feel bad about that night. And look at this picture. Her eyes are cutting me while her lips are trying to smile.

I guess I give her the benefit of the doubt because I have Unintentional Bitch Face much of the time. It runs in my family. I just have a mean look to my face, even when I’m not thinking any mean or bitchy thoughts. I could be thinking about cute puppies or babies and still be scowling. My face got me a reputation at school and among my students. Lots of people think I’m a bitch because of it. (Okay, I admit to a having a temper, too, but plenty of people have never seen me angry and still think I’m mean.)

And having fibromyalgia means a whole lot of Unintentional Bitch Face. Lots of clenching my jaw and grimacing trough the pain. Lots of sighing big sighs. Lots of nonverbal signals that tell people I don’t like them when really I’m just trying to make it through the day with some heavy duty pain. I have to tell people “Sorry, it’s not you. It’s the pain in my back, my knees, my shoulders, all over my body.”

So I give the girl a break. Maybe she is a poor sport, but maybe it’s just her look. And maybe that face had more to do with how she was feeling about herself than how she was feeling about anyone else.

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