In all the COVID “will it or won’t it be happening” hub-bub, I feel like the fact that the 2020 Olympics have been cancelled has been sorely overlooked. Can you imagine training yourself for years and years, and beginning the end-stages of tapering yourself to athletic perfection, only to have that dream cancelled and put on hold for a year? Not to mention the viewing public, which could use the kind of country-unification that an Olympic Games always brings out of us.

So since we’re going to be sans a worldwide Olympics, maybe now is the time to think about a Jackson County Olympic Games, where every tiny town in the county (Go Fairplain!) takes on each other to prove who really is the best of the best. I’m imagining athletes from all over the county marching together to the Courthouse Lawn, led by the Olympic Torch Bearer, although in these Olympics, the “torch” is one of those long-handled lighters, and the Olympic Flame is a never-ending bonfire on the courthouse lawn, tended to by someone sitting in a folding lawn chair with a portable cooler next to them. Then of course, they’ll be traditional Olympic sports, but they’ll just need a local twist:

• Golf: Played at Greenhills, but every player’s caddy is their best friend whose only real golf skill is driving the cart and telling you how they saw Tiger Woods play once at the Greenbrier.

• The Marathon: 26 miles of running through lovely Jackson County, but you’re required to wave at every person you pass sitting on their porch, and if they verbally say hello, you have to stop and talk to them about whether or not we’re going to get any more rain that week.

• Rhythmic Gymnastics: except it’s not so much gymnastics as it is dancing on the Fairplain Yacht Club dance floor, but you have to do it with a full drink in your hand. Deductions taken for spillage. Points added for correctly “Cupid Shuffling.”

• Swimming: done at the Ripley Pool, and presided over by the same bored teenage lifeguards as always, who may or may not look up from their phones long enough to see who touched the wall first. With the additional event of “Super Slide Racing,” where the person who can slide down the twisty slide the fastest wins.

• Trampoline: backyard kinds only, with the difficulty points raised if you remove the children- protective netting. If you’re over 40 and you pull off a backflip, it’s an automatic gold medal.

And since its our Olympics, and we’re not beholden to the IOC, we’d have to add some local favorites, like:

• Cornhole: regular tournament rules, but the decorations on your boards counts. American flag? Points. American flag with an eagle? More points. American flag with an eagle who sings “God Bless America” every time you score? Winner winner, eagle dinner.

• Walmart Track and Field: the judges give you a cart and a specific list of ten items, and the fastest one to pick up all items, check out in a manned lane only, load your car, and return your cart to a cart holder wins. The catch? You have to take at least one child with you who likes to grab at everything, the store clerks move what’s in the aisles around every time, and you have to show your receipt before you can run back to the parking lot.

• Midnight Cow Catching: the judges call you randomly in the middle of the night, and you and your team must assemble in your matching team pajamas and muck boots, then find and re-catch the cow that has gotten out somewhere near your property and onto your neighbor’s before your neighbor wakes up. Must also fix the break in the fence so it holds till morning. Points added for creative cussing.

• The Muddin’ Marathon: also 26 miles, and same “wave at everyone rules,” but you have to take me or another Holler Princess along, and if you get mud on our purses, you get points deducted. And a slap upside the head.

• Competition BINGO: The county’s best BINGO players and their lucky daubers, along with the county’s slowest BINGO number caller, duke it out at Cedar Lakes Dining Hall with nothing to fuel them but pop, hot dogs, and bake-sale cookies. But not for gold, silver, or bronze, but a really amazing gift basket. Because Olympic medals are nice, but have you ever won a Pilot Club BINGO prize?!?

So Jackson County, if you’re game to replace the 2020 Toyko Olympics with the 2020 JCO Olympics, then I am too. Y’all start getting in shape, start working on your town uniform design, I’ll start gathering up all the Holler Princesses and their purses. Then we’ll meet everyone at the Olympic Bonfire as soon the kindling is lit and the lawn chair is in place!