When Your New York Kid Is in the Olympics, You Find a Way to Watch

Where did you watch the first match? The first match was at 4:30 in the morning. My wife and I woke up to watch; you don’t wake up that early on a weekday unless you have some skin in the game. I set my clothes out the night before because I knew it would be so early. Our dog woke up around 5, so I did doggy duties at halftime. I let him out, gave him food, took him for a walk and brought him back in to watch with us. He was still a little groggy.

How about the next one? The second match started at 7:30 a.m., which was much more reasonable. It was also the opening day qualifier for the championship at my golf club. My friend told me I should just tape it and put it out of my mind and watch later. I’m like, “Dude, do you think I can ignore my daughter’s game?” So I ended up going early to the club and watching it alone in the restaurant. People were probably like, “Who is that crazy nut sitting there?”

When did you know Crystal was Olympic material? My daughter was born in Queens, but we moved to Rockville Centre when she was little. Unbeknown to us, it’s a huge soccer town, so she played. When Crystal was 8, one of the parent coaches said, “When she goes to the Olympics, get me tickets.”

What do you do before a match? I always talk to Crystal and tell her to enjoy the experience. We also talk after. If she has a tough one, like the first one this Olympics, I say it’s just one match, and there will be the next one. If she does well, I say nice things about the team, and I tell her to get some sleep.

Where did you watch the first race? The first race was 11:30 p.m. our time, so Charlotte’s dad and I watched at home. It was a little past my bedtime, so I took a nap first and watched in my pajamas.

How did it feel to not be with her? I didn’t feel sad about not being in Tokyo until the day of the opening ceremony and saw all the empty stands. It was just a reminder of all the trauma we’ve gone through in the past year. As a health care worker — I now work at Montefiore in the Bronx — I saw it first hand.

Where will you watch future races? I am a member of a rowing club where Charlotte also rowed and coached, so we are going to have a watch party on the day of the finals. We made T-shirts that said “Tokyo Olympics” on the front and “Buck” on the back.