The Olympics may be over, but the D.C. winter games are just about to begin


Gabriel Claus, 11, brings in the garbage can after shovelling for his mother in December. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
John Kelly
Columnist March 2

The Winter Olympics in Sochi may be over, but Washington’s winter shows no signs of abating.

That’s a good thing, actually, because this latest snow dump arrives just in time for our own winter Olympiad. Team D.C. has spent the last few months in rigorous training. As winter gives us one last (?) rabbit punch, see how well you do in these unique events:

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

Buy-athlon: Entrants race to the supermarket to see who can purchase the most milk, bread and toilet paper.

Modern buy-athlon: Housebound entrants join Netflix so they can binge on the entire 62-episode run of “Breaking Bad” and spring for Amazon Prime so they can get all of “Justified” for free.

Speed shoveling: On your mark. Get set. Shovel! That 8 to 12 inches of snow isn’t going to move on its own. Don’t you want to see your car and driveway again before spring?

Ice dancing: Balance and grace are the keys in this popular event, in which contestants try to navigate 60 feet of icy sidewalk while wearing entirely inappropriate footwear.

Snowbored: How long can you withstand the constant carping of your kids, kept home from school for yet another day?

Loogie: Not to be confused with luge, loogie involves packing yourself aboard crowded Metro trains and buses as well as mingling with sick children and co-workers. The winner is the person who can go the longest without catching a cold, the flu or a nasty upper respiratory infection.

Giant slalom: Thread your sliding car around various obstacles as you slip down an unplowed side street.

Short track: Attention passengers: WMATA has stopped service to above-ground Metro stations. Who will be quickest at finding alternate transport into work?

Bob slay: Entrants compete to hunt down and dispatch meteorologist Bob Ryan, bringer of so much bad D.C. weather news over his long, illustrious career. Not to be confused with “Sue Palka,” in which the Channel 5 forecaster is served with a court-issued gag order, or “Topper Shutt in a Box,” in which the pesky Channel 9 meteorologist is nailed inside a steamer trunk and dumped on Roosevelt Island.

Superiority G: Who can gripe the most and the loudest about how pathetic Washingtonians are in the snow? Athletes originally from Buffalo and Chicago are heavily favored in this event.

Curling: Um, er. Sorry. Curling’s funny enough on its own. I can’t think of anything to add.

Paper chase

In penance for my recent gripefest over TV news and its artificial fillips — the Nod, the Anchor Dance, the happy talk — I invited readers to lodge complaints about The Washington Post. Alexandria’s Carolyn Pavone Langley expressed a common sentiment: “My husband and I have subscribed for most of our 44 years of marriage but lately many of the articles state: ‘For more information go to www.,’” she wrote. “If I pay 40-some dollars for eight weeks, why in the world would I ever expect to have to go to the Web for any information? How about those who do not use the Internet?

“I know that the printed page will go away, but until then could you give your readers the entire printed paper?”

You do catch newspapers such as The Post at a challenging time. We depend on the newsprint product (that’s still where we make most of our money), but we see more and more readers engaging with us online. Newsprint is expensive. Cyberspace is (relatively) cheap.

Try not to think of the newspaper as a diminished product, but the Web site as an enhanced one: something extra for those who want it. And thank you for reading us in any format.

Jim Gray of Charlotte Hall, Md., says The Post is “just about perfect. However — bet you didn’t see that coming — those half-sheet advertisements that are occasionally wrapped around the front page make me crazy. As my own personal protest, I never look at them and immediately toss them.”

Jim, no! Last week one of those half-sheets featured coupons for a free big screen TV, a 17-jewel Swiss watch, a bass boat and a first edition of the Gutenberg Bible! Either that or 10 percent off a mattress.

Sorry to cause the irritation, but I guess that shows those odd little ads are noticed.

Twitter: @johnkelly

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/johnkelly.

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