Is anyone else out there nervous about Michael Phelps’s appearance tomorrow night on Saturday Night Live? Sure, he did a heap of good for the sport with all those gold medals, world records and overall good sportsmanship, but you realize of course he could destroy the entire sport tomorrow night.
Oh, no, you people read the Internet. You KNOW what some of those Internet haters are going to do to him (and us, by association) if he so much as flubs one line or flashes those famous bicuspids when he shouldn’t. It’ll be all, "Sure, Michael Phelps can swim faster than I can walk, but he can’t deliver a punch line to save himself! Ha, ha! Swimming sucks!"
Little age-groupers who started the school year with their heads held high and their little swimmer biceps on display are going to get to school on Monday and hear, "Michael can’t do a spit-take! Swimming sucks!"
The high schoolers, who finally grew in a crop of undamaged hair and got invited to the cheerleaders’ table to discuss the men’s 400 free relay over lunch, are going to find themselves exiled to the back table with the exchange students – from France.
The college coaches, who had been invited to sit next to the A.D. at department meetings and debate the merits of 25 yards or 50 meters if the school built a new pool, are going to arrive at Monday’s meeting and find averted gazes and stifled snickers. Except for the women’s golf coach who’s going to say something like, "It’s OK, even Eun-Hee Ji didn’t know how to cross to stage left and deliver a line into Camera 3 when she started out."
But, maybe, just like in that 100 fly, Michael can pull it off. Instead of gliding in, he’ll take that extra stroke and nail it. Yeah, maybe those writers can think up something as brilliant as that men’s synchronized swimming skit from...oh jeez, it was 1984, wasn’t it? That’s a long time between decent aquatic-humor sketches, isn’t it.
But, no, it’s going to be OK. It is. Probably.