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Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic Withdrawal

It should be relatively apparent to anyone who knows me and reads The Gypsy that you seldom see posts relating to great physical activities. And certainly not doing them with a heck of a lot of skill.

I am not the one to bungee jump, my idea of fun on a snow day is hunkering down with art supplies, a good book and a full fridge, and you will never find me racing anything. I'm just not competitive in that way (or in most ways, for that matter).

Having said that, I have loved watching every minute of the Olympics and am having a bit of withdrawal issues.

I don't understand why I love the Winter Olympics. Even knowing the back story of Vancouver's mania to spin things a certain way (see Joyce's fabulous post on behind-the-scenes in Vancouver; you may have to scroll down a post or two, but it's worth it), I found myself adjusting my schedule to catch Olympic action.

I stay up late. I have favorites.

I am close to tears as I watch courageous athletes triumph over their deepest losses...

And I join along when the winners are so overcome, the joy is without compare.

I am in awe of those who do things that make my stomach turn, just watching.

I admire those who pick themselves up and just do it, even when injured or working in pain.

And those who triumph over their past demons to win and win again.

But mostly, I just want to see the most amazing athletes win and applaud those with the dedication just to make it that far.

And when their story is inspiring, tells of challenges or devotion or family support, I am as sucked in as the rest of the world. Call me a sap; it's true.

I suppose one reason is that lots of us have done Olympic sports from childhood. Although, I will say that most of my "sports" were better suited to the Summer Olympics!

True, you've seen this photo. Back when winter was fun. I was not a skeleton or luge athlete in training. To me, skeletons meant Halloween and luge -- who knows? I was just a kid.

My cousin David and seemed to be into team sports. Rowing, for example...

And I think he had great potential as a shot putter.

Even then, you see me with reading material!

I skated till I broke my arm at the ripe old age of nine. I never wanted to skate again (but I did learn to use my right hand to write, which came in handy when I had my shoulder surgery last year.)

My greatest athletic achievement was swimming across our lake -- about a half-mile or so. And holding my own on water skis.

And I could do a pretty mean hula hoop when I was nine.

And yes, I even rode a bicycle -- those races down Sunset Lane. I was in the bikini division then. It wasn't quite the last time I rode a bike. It may have been the last time I wore a bikini.

That was then. This is now.

Rick approaches his bicycling with athletic dedication.

And he's turned me into a fabulous spectaor, enjoying Versus bike ride coverage (coming soon!) and watching him speed past me (my heart a bit in my throat as he does until I see him safe off the bike).

But it's not my sport.

I sat through Kevin's football games in high school because he was playing. My heart was in my throat for those, too -- and I have to say, when he had to give up college football for an injury, I was sad for him, and relieved for us.

But it's not my sport.

In my quest to lose weight and gain better breathing capacity, I faithfully go to the gym and do my Zumba and the eliptical machine and sometimes the bike. I get sweaty. I get stronger. I hate it. But I do it. I visualize a healthier person who looks better in her clothes and breathes more easily, without wheezing and coughing. But I still hate it.

These Olympians don't hate it. They do it because they love it, like Rick and his bike.

They all deserve a gold medal for that. And really, doesn't everyone -- no matter how good or poor they are? Don't they deserve praise for doing something relentlessly, working to be their best?

I'll miss the Olympics. I'll miss these gifted athletes. I'll miss watching sports you never get to see on TV, and often never in person.

Time to go to the gym.

15 comments:

shoreacres said...

jeanie ~

You're not alone. A lot of folks got caught up in the action, and now have to face life knowing there's no more giant slalom or ice dancing to be had at the end of the day. Even my mom watched every bit of every hockey game. Hockey? says me. Why not? says she. It just happens.

Like you, I'm no athlete, but I love the dedication, the skill, the ability to pick up and go on after a gazillion people have just watched a face-plant on a snowy hill. Those are special people.

culdesacchronicles said...

I love the old photos here, especially the one with the hula hoop and the one on the tricycle. So cute.

I had to admit it, but I haven't watched any of the Olympics. We used to watch everything. I'm not sure why they escape my interest now, but I'm glad that so many others are enjoying them and when I read about some exciting event, I do have a twinge of regret that I missed it, but I still don't tune in. Don't know why.

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

such fun how you wove your cute pics in with the Olympic pics Jeanie

it was GRAND wasn't it! I enjoy the winter olympics very much too!

we were lucky enough to visit Vancouver summer 2008, what a beautiful town that is...we thought
"we could live there"
oxo

Joanne Huffman said...

In 2 years, you can watch the Summer Olympics...

anno said...

The Winter Olympics is the only reason I ever envy people with television reception ... I'll be looking for every highlights DVD I can find.

Love the pictures of your own Olympian adventures (and preferences) - I think we share one or two!

beth said...

what a great post !
you know how I love your old photos and how you used them here is just brilliant and adorable !

and I'm going to miss those olympians, too....they made me so proud !

Debby said...

What an awesome post. I am having withdrawls also. I am exhausted and not sure I could have taken many more days, but I sure am proud to be Canadian! Love the old pics.
debby

Wrightboysmum said...

I'm another who likes to watch from the comfort of the sofa. I'm sick of all the snow in real life here but still love watching all those great activites. Fab photos.

Janet said...

Your childhood photos are just so cute! I love the way you incorporated them into this post about the Olympics. Very clever!

I'm not an athlete, never have been, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone compete for all the same reasons you stated. Now we just have to wait four more years for the next ones!

Rosa said...

I was thinking earlier what I was going to do without the Olympics too! I really enjoy the winter ones the best also. Love all your adorable photos. xo

Kristine Campbell said...

Thanks Jeanie for the good laughs, wonderful old photos and your comments on the olympics. I agreed with it all esp. the 'my idea of fun on a snow day is hunkering down with art supplies, a good book and a full fridge'.
And thanks for the blog visit. Yes, come to the gallery - I'm sure there are a pair of earrings with your name on them. :>))

changelingthings said...

Hi Jeanie,
I'm having lots of fun reading your blog today and discovering more about the person and place behind my tea chest that's winging it's way over here. This post about the Olympics made me smile. I don't like sport either. I haven't watched the Olympics this year but, even though Australia does very poorly in the Winter olympics, they are my favourite. I always wondered if this was because they had arty type sports like skating in them.

Debbie said...

I love looking at all those images. What wonderful childhood memories playing in the snow. I would love to see it one day. The sport I enjoyed watching while the games was on was when the athletes laid on that sled thing and went really fast down this ice tunnel. Talk about getting the adrenalin pumping.

fullsoulahead.com said...

You were an adorable little cherub!

Linda said...

Great post... I feel the same way. I am NOT competitive... but I love the Olympics. I think it's the personal drama ..... I mean...I was addicted to Guiding Light and As The World Turns for so many years!!!

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