I have mixed feelings about the Olympics. On the one hand, it is absolutely awe-inspiring to see some of these athletes and the amazing feats they can perform.
On the other hand, watching them makes me feel just a little inadequate; as if were a slacker. I start questioning my reason for existence and going down roads that really should only be visited on your birthday. The Olympics is all about convincing your body to do all sorts of things better than any other body on the planet. Things that are simply impossible for the average human being.
Objectively speaking, you wouldn’t think that slipping down an ice slide going 90 miles an hour, your back on a tiny sled, would be considered an integral part of one’s resume. However, if you can do it faster than everyone else, you get a gold medal.
The contestants, I’m sure, feel a lot of pressure to win. They used to love to wander out on to their grandparent’s pond and skate around, at one with nature; feeling the crisp air on their cheeks and just enjoying the experience. Now the sport they love owns them. No longer do they skate in such peace and harmony. No longer is snowboarding a beloved past time. Skiing is not about the freedom and excitement of flying down a hill on two waxed boards and avoiding trees and other obstacles, like a little brother who wiped out. No, now it’s about winning, about form, about points.
Here at home, my family still retains the spirit of the games without so much emphasis on points. We have our version of the luge, only there is no sled. The slide is the banister. Form is important here, however, especially for boys. If they slide on their back, they need to keep their feet straight out in front of them so they will catch the newel post before the crux of their body does, otherwise there will be painful consequences. They’ve tried a laundry basket down a set of stairs, but mostly they felt the agony of defeat before reaching the bottom. The judges scored harshly.
My freshly waxed kitchen floor makes a wonderful skating rink. You don’t even need skates – just socks. Oh, the graceful poses my daughter strikes as she skates around our kitchen. There is usually a foot and an arm in the air. Her skating costume is her pink bathrobe with blue and yellow stars and, of course, a pair of mismatched socks. Michelle Kwan, move over!
My boys have some interesting sports for which the Olympics does not yet have a category. The older one’s main sport is how long he can go without changing his underwear. The younger one’s sport is how long he can go without wearing underwear. I’m telling you, if ever there is a competition for these two sports, I think we will have a couple of gold medalists here.
I wonder, though, how long will they enjoy the sport once they are in competition?