Sunday, February 21, 2010

I love the Olympics!

There is a reason I don't blog about sports -- I'm hopeless. I wore bifocals starting in kindergarten, so I was the last kid chosen for any athletic team. Yet, I love the Olympics! I am in awe of the talent collected in one place. For the most part, the Olympics we see as spectators is the epitome of sportsmanship. Yeah, the Russian figure skater bad-mouthed the US win, but, hey, that's left over from the cold war. Usually, when a skier goes down, there are many countries represented in the group rushing to help. The Olympics bring out the best of international relations and remind us of what the world could be.
In terms of the sports, I cannot imagine being competent at most of the sports. I know Courtney Zablocki who finished fourth in luge in Torino and I know how hard she works and how easily she is injured. I simply cannot even imagine being able to do what she does. I stood at the top of the ski jump hill in Park City and I got dizzy standing there, never mind sliding down the hill with the intention of jumping 1 centimeter, let alone 100 meters or whatever distance they fly through the air.
There is one event even we couch potatoes can relate to -- curling! At the moment, I am watching the American women lose miserably to the Canadians, but I can relate to this sport. These women are "real" women -- sizes 12 and 14 are represented. There are little rolls around the waists, thick thighs, hips, even arms that don't even hint at muscles, all the less attractive aspects of our physical selves are visible on the athletes in this sport. If we concentrate, we can see the strategy. Granted, seeing the strategy and actually placing the rock where one wants are two completely different things. This sport is bocce on ice with a few extra twists. The strategy is not unlike pool -- place your rocks where you want them while knocking your opponent's rocks out of play. The catch is that the cue is a human sliding on ice without benefit of skates. I'm not saying I could master the sport of curling, but I can imagine not embarrassing myself in the sport. It is good to have a sport where a mere mortal can imagine some success.
I love the Olympics! There are times to dream the impossible dream and times to imagine our own participation. Most important of all, the predominant theme is one of peaceful competition. And that is a theme that we can dream would predominate even when the Olympic torch is no longer visible.

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