Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
Hello I am obsessed with Lil Tom Daley, Olympic Gold Medalist and hobbyist knitter.
Here's Tom knitting whilst watching the Women's 3m Dive earlier today. Tom and I are similar in so many ways (as you are aware) but I've never felt more kinship to him than I did upon seeing this photo. Do I knit? No. I did join an after school knitting club in middle school for about three weeks, bought one (1) spool of yarn, learned a lot, retained very little, and then called it a day forever, thus beginning my lifelong devotion to the hobby of "buying the supplies and acting like I really did something."
But, despite the fact that I hooked one, purled two but a few times, this photo reminds me of myself on an energetic level. When I was maybe 12, 13 (around the same time as I became a knitting club member emeritus), my brother Stephen was in a basketball championship. The whole family went to cheer him on but I, not knowing anything about "basketball", how it is played, or why, brought a copy of the New York Times with me to keep my occupied. As I understood it, sports was something that happened around me and it was best to make sure I had an activity to stave off boredom. I was not aware that sports was the activity. As my mother tells it, I read the paper throughout the whole game, cheering at appropriate moments but thoroughly engrossed in the news of the day. At the end, I looked up and asked "Who won?" Because I was invested in the outcome.
Now, of course, Tom is actually paying attention to what's going on on the field (the swimming field? Is that the term? The water court? You get the idea.) But I do love that photographer Clive Rose captured this moment of intense raveling while reveling and rooting.
Even though I've followed Tom Daley for years, I wasn't aware until just last week that he is a proficient knitter and has his own Instagram account devoted to his sweaters (or as he calls them "jumpers"). Perhaps this is basic information that you've known about forever, fandom 101 stuff like JLo's bedazzled cups. I don't know how it slipped by me. My only excuse is that I've been really busy reading a newspaper in a community center gymnasium. But I'm all caught up now!
He's fit and he knits!
Okay, I was going to save this one for the end because I am 1) obsessed with it and 2) desperate to own one of my own, but I just couldn't wait. I love that Tom is out here making himself clothes that could also double as costumes for a touring production of Mamma Mia! This looks so complicated! A lot of my friends knit and crochet (and I do consider Tom to be one of my friends); every time they post a finished product on IG I'm agog like Jodi Foster seeing the magnitude of space in Contact. My friend Kristen made me a gorgeous throw that is keeping me warm in the icebox I call my house at this very minute. This art form is MAGIC. I don't understand it, I do love it; I'm going to scream about it.
I'm don't know where Kristen finds the time and I don't know where Tom, my other best friend, finds the time. Tom's knitting is literally a whole other career he's doing whilst being the best in the world as his main job as a person who jumps off of very high things and then uses muscles that I don't think my body personally has to do a bunch of in-air crunches and planks. (AND he has a third job as a YouTuber with over a million followers, which maybe doesn't seem like a job but as someone who has tried to make one TikTok and called it a day forever I can assure you that being interesting on film is work. Now, I imagine my TikTok might have been more well-received if I hadn't just been reading the New York Times silently but if that public isn't ready for my art, that's their problem!)
At some point Tom Daley made his husband, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, a very lovely cardigan!
Can you imagine if I tried to do this?! "David, I know how much you like Mr. Roger's sweaters, so for your birthday I made you this--a ball of yarn that is hopelessly knotted. Enjoy, Toots!"
HE MADE A COUCH FOR HIS CAT.
Okay, I'm calling it--I need a full congressional investigation into WHERE HE FINDS THE TIME? Tom Daley is a celebrity Olympian who has to train like 16 hours a day for his chosen sport of "being hot and precise whilst falling"; he has a media empire; he's a dad; and he knits everything! Oh! And the wildest part is that he started knitting at the beginning of quarantine. Like, 14 months ago. IN THIS TIMELINE. This is information that is dangerous for me because I am always interested in the delusion that I have some heretofore unknown talent that is just waiting to make itself known the minute I take up a new hobby. This is what got me to spend my cold hard American Bitcoins on:
-Rock climbing gym (sometimes the mountain does not come to Muhammad)
-Piano (multiple times; I am starting to think that I am not Elton John)
-softball (we all know how that went)
-a cookbook about making things out of fondant (more like fon-don't)
-a popsicle-making kit (I lugged it back and forth to the beach 3 years in a row before deciding that I didn't want to make my personality "fun popsicles")
-knitting (might try again, though... I'm actively talking myself into it right now)
-gospel choir (I tried to Sister Act myself; my voice was like "Brother, no.")
What are my hobbies? Uh... Working? Like a tiny patch of crocheted yarn that I swear is going to become the world's most glamorous knitted caftan, I'm a work in progress. Until that progress happens, I'll delight myself in one of my more successful hobbies: being very excited about Tom Daley's hobbies.
Most recently, Tom won his first Olympic Gold medal (along with Matty Lee in synchronized diving) and, of course, I was thrilled about this as a person who is very invested in Tom's continued happiness and success. True to form, it wasn't enough to just be an Olympic medalist--Tom has spent his down week between events knitting a cozie for his medal.
This is the most perfect and most extra thing I have ever seen. Also, do Olympic medals come with carrying cases normally or do they expect people to just throw it over their necks on the ride home like one of those airplane sleeping pillows? I need more information on the transportation of Olympic medals, just in case I discover a skill I didn't know I had and end up winning one (A POSSIBLE OUTCOME!). Walking up to the Auntie Anne's at LaGuardia, waiting for a connecting flight, my Bronze medal around my neck, clinking on the plastic sneeze guard as I make my pretzel selection. This is all very likely. My next hobby will be improbably winning Olympic medals. Just as soon as I finish reading the New York Times.
This week on Previously On...
"So, yes, Miss Olivia is giving you Barbra Streisand “The Way We Were” realness with this throwback to a discussion that happened somewhere between 8th grade and sophomore year. She’s giving you memories, shapeless and evergreen, of the plan to procure a legal permit to operate a moving vehicle. She’s giving you moments of gold and flashes of (head)lights because this conversation that happened maybe 365, even 366 days ago is all coming back to her. But she’s also giving you the specific and intense fury of being heartbroken at a point in life when everything feels so big, so strong, so infinite. She’s young and she’ll get over it but she’s right and she should say it. She should scream about it."
Random Thing on the Internet
Never has an article been more geared toward my specific interests than this interview with Lesley Anne Warren in which Devon Ivie asks every question she can think of about Clue.
being hot and precise whilst falling,