Let The Games Begin

A ski jumper in Calgary, Canada.Image via Wikipedia

I’m not sure I understand athletes.  I don’t understand people who get up at ungodly hours and spend the majority of the day putting their bodies through brutal workouts and practices, and then get up the next morning and do it all over again.  I know that there must be some reward in all of that work, but I don’t get it.

They risk serious injury and even death, as in the case of young Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia who died during a practice run of the luge before the opening ceremonies yesterday.  How a skier, for instance, can stand at the top of a downhill run before throwing him or herself down a mostly vertical slope, and not think about falling, is beyond me.  Which is why I would probably fall.  I’d lose the competition before I’d even started.  I’ve been on skis.  They slide all over the place.  I’ve been on skates too and they’re not much better.

One of my favourite winter game sports is ski jumping.  They just fly off that ramp as hard and as high as they can, and they really do fly.  They hold their arms slightly out from their sides and lean as far forward as they can, keeping their skis as perfectly still as possible as they sail through the air.  And then they seem to catch more air as they literally float back to the snow, landing their skis softly and coming to a stop at the bottom of the hill, all without ski poles.  It’s poetic.

Another favourite is speed skating.  There’s something that thrills me in the way speed skaters gracefully glide around the corners with those big, powerful legs propelling them forward, and their arms steadily swaying from side to side.  It seems effortless.  Good athletes do that;  they make it all seem effortless.  In my mind, I am an amazing ski jumper and speed skater.

But in real life, I’m the artsy fartsy type.  Or you could just call me lazy.

I know that at my age I should really be focusing on keeping myself in shape and I do have the desire, but the flesh is weak.  When I recently got tendinitis in my shoulder, I stopped all activity.  Nothing like an “injury” to give me an excuse to not do anything.  What’s really stupid is that I got the tendinitis from the way I sit in a chair, not from any actual activity.  Which only proves that I do too much sitting.  Imagine getting an injury from sitting?  I think I’ll keep that part secret, so don’t tell anyone.

When I go for a walk around my neighbourhood, I inevitably have to make a trek up a good size hill to get home.  Some days I feel pretty good about getting up that hill with not too much effort, but other days I feel it in my knee or my hip and I start to imagine myself collapsed on the sidewalk calling 911 from my cellphone.  How embarrassing it would be to tell the paramedics that I injured myself walking.  Well, I’ve injured myself sitting, so why not?  Shhhh…that’s still our secret, right? 

I’m not a wimp.  I love to golf and I do enjoy walking when I have the gumption to get out there.  But I’m about as far from an athlete as a person could possibly get.

So I’m going to leave the Olympics up to the ones who deserve to be in them.  They are amazing to watch and I can’t even begin to know what they go through to get there.  To me, they all deserve gold medals.


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