Winter Olympics For the Rest of Us

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by Lindsay Sankey
“I’m about over the Olympics,” I said one night two weeks ago. We were approximately an hour into the opening ceremonies.
I’ve never been much of an athlete. My lack of athleticism is likely fueled by two parts inherited kankles and one part non-competitive spirit. I just wasn’t built for spandex.
Field Day in elementary school was my least favorite day of the year. I only entered the jump rope competition because I knew it was the first event and was over before the day got hot. I’ve never been the kind to glorify athletes, participate in endurance training or follow a restricted diet…ever.
Some folks really get into the Olympics, and to each their own. I really get into sipping wine from a plastic cup while looking at cows in the pasture, but I wouldn’t expect everyone to get into that, either.
I think that in order for the Olympics to be extraordinary for the general public, you need to show us what a normal person would look like doing the same event. These professionals make it look easy; I want someone to make it look to scale.
Show me someone – who doesn’t live on protein bars, Vaseline and adrenaline – with a dad bod and a bad knee going down a snowy hill with a hundred little speed bumps with nothing more than glorified ironing boards covered in Crisco under their feet. Then I’ll be impressed.
I’m sure Chloe Kim, American snowboarder, gets some kind of high from her head spinning around in circles out in the open, cold air. But really, all she needs to do is open a vet bill outside in the driveway during the month of January and she can achieve the same light-headed effect. My head is still spinning from the December invoice from Kurtz Vet Clinic.
“I just can’t get into figure skating,” Cody said Sunday night as I was playing 52 pick-up in the living room.
I didn’t have a verbal response to that comment, rather more of a silent, “Thank you, Jesus,” in my head.
For folks like us, if we wanted to see people get dizzy in glittery spandex, nude tights and heavy make-up, we’ll just road trip to watch our niece’s dance recital in South Dakota.
I don’t understand curling, but if I were forced to participate in an Olympic event, this is the one I would dominate. I practice the form and speed weekly when following Cody across the kitchen floor, through the dining room to his side table so he can grab an Angus Journal with boots dropping snow and – stuff – onto our linoleum and carpet. With a curious toddler as my shadow, I work quickly with a Mr. Clean mop to ensure whatever dropped from his Muck boots is not confused for remnants of a chocolate snow cone.
Cross country skiing seems impressive until you realize most stockmen do the same throughout the winter months, while carrying an 80-pound calf and simultaneously opening gates. We don’t really think about getting a gold medal during this event, as we’re more concerned with getting to the barn before the aggressive momma cow reaches us…and then thawing the calf’s ears before they get frostbite. Add a coyote across the south pasture and a rifle to the event and you’ve planted yourself smack dab in the middle of a biathlon competition. They should come practice at our place for Beijing 2022.
Though I make the games seem trivial, I’ll admit that we’ll probably tune in a couple more times before the winter Olympics are over, just so we sleep better knowing tomorrow is already half over some place in the world. It’s easier to get out of a bed on a Monday when you consider that someone is actually making a conscious effort to make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered death rocket sled on a Tuesday.