The Wall Street Journal ran a piece Wednesday profiling the odd guild of house elves whose job it is to wipe up sweat left behind by athletes in court sports like badminton, volleyball, handball and basketball. They are known as "sweat moppers." Here's what they can teach us:
- Any action performed at the Olympics sounds instantly more impressive, simply by virtue of having been performed at the Olympics. Sleeping becomes Olympic sleeping. Arguing outside a gas station becomes Olympic arguing outside a gas station. Mopping becomes Olympic mopping.
"Like all athletic pursuits, stretching is important in Olympic mopping."
- The decision to try out for a spot on the Olympic volunteer sweatmopping brigade is not one to be taken lightly, as it requires extensive, grueling training.
"Olympic badminton held five training sessions for moppers, starting with one focused on…not looking bored."
- Although being a mopper at the Olympics is literally exactly the same as being an athlete at the Olympics, the opinions of the moppers do not overrule those of the coaches.
"Badminton volunteers must keep their hands at their sides and must not look players in the eye. ‘We are also not allowed to offer the athletes any tactical advice.' says mopper Samuel Bevan, 18, from Carmarthen in Wales."
- If a badminton player ever tells you to do anything, just do the opposite because every word they say is a lie and they should be banned from the Olympics.
"Sly badminton players are known to attempt to take extra-and illegal-breaks by asking moppers to do spot cleans. Instructors emphasized to the moppers to only take orders from umpires, who sometimes disregard player requests."
- Usain Bolt is really good at mopping.
"'You have to go like lightning—you feel like Usain Bolt mopping.'"
- Olympic mopping is an activity for the dreamers, the believers, the I-can-achievers.
"'There's a lot of hard work put in and a lot of-what's the word?—confidence-building to make sure that we believed that we could do it.'"
- Sometimes people are happy with crumbs.
"[The moppers] all so excited it is so warm because it means that players sweat more.'"