BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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From Last to First

LAR7146dc_28NAT378_OLYMPICS_2018_XCTY_M_SKIA_.jpgSo did you see the cross country skier from Norway? The one who fell down almost immediately after the start of the 18 mile or so race he was competing in at the Olympics? The one who apparently banged his head on the way down?

Yeah, that guy. His name is Simen Krueger, and he ended up at the end of the pack, as in dead last. Too bad, right? His Olympic hopes and dreams shattered after he’d barely begun. A shame. Only it wasn’t. Why? He got up. He got up and got going. And he kept going. And going, and going, kind of like the Energizer Bunny, but in the freezing cold, on skis, uphill.

Not only did this guy finish the race, he finished first. And not just barely, either. There was nobody behind him, at least not right behind him. So there’s a lesson, kids. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t decide that you’re finished when you’ve barely begun, even if you do have a setback. Even a major setback.

That guy’s my hero. Congratulations, team Norway, you’ve got a real champion.

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Olympic Dedication

I’ve really been enjoying the Sochi Winter Games. As I’ve been doing all sorts of  home improvement projects, I’ve caught several different events. Some of these I didn’t even know existed, and others I had heard of, but knew nothing about. It’s been entertaining and educational.1392288808000-USP-Olympics-Freestyle-Skiing-Men-s-Ski-Slopestyl-010

Watching these Olympics has also made me wonder how it is that Olympians get started. How does someone wake up one day and decide that they’re going to train to be an Olympic skeleton racer, or an Olympic ice dancer? People don’t have ski jumps in their backyards, do they? They don’t have luge courses or mogul hills down the street, right? So somewhere along the way these athletes were introduced to these sports and they began training. I understand figure skating and hockey, snowboarding and downhill skiing, but some of those other sports really puzzle me. How exactly do you begin your short track racing career, or your training in the sport of curling? You just pack a bag and head off to bobsled camp? Enroll in slope style academy?  I just don’t know.

In all of the sports, it is clear that the athletes are dedicated and most of them, in my opinion, are fearless. They take incredible risks in order to perform at their peak. Many of them risk life and limb, literally, in order to beat the clock and the competition. They have a fire and dedication that I can’t help but admire, even if I don’t understand it.

I love that every two years we check in on the athletes of the world, and every four years we revisit our favorite events and learn about new ones. I also love that the athletes show us that hard work and dedication do pay off. That’s a message that we can’t  hear often enough.


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Feeling a Little Low Brow

sochi_winter_olympics_opening_ceremony_23Did you catch any of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last night? I did, and it wasn’t what I expected.

I don’t want to sound ridiculous, but I probably will anyway. The thing is, I was underwhelmed. Hear me out. I loved the projections on the floor. It was super cool to watch the “ice” breaking apart, and to see the fleet of ships sailing across the choppy sea. There’s no question that the technology involved in making that show happen is awe inspiring and cutting edge. I get it. But something was missing for me.

I like to imagine that I’ve been exposed to the fine arts more than the typical American. Surely not as much as someone who actually is involved with theater or dance or music or art, but more than the average guy or gal on the street. I’ve been to art galleries in Athens, New York, and Florence.  I’ve been to the ballet in London and the theater there as well. I’ve visited museums of all types from San Francisco to Washington; Brussels to Tel Aviv. I’ve been to shows on and off Broadway, and attend plays and concerts regularly. Heck, I even attended the New York Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center when I still had baby teeth. More than once.

I don’t tell you all this to make you think I’m a snob. I am not. I listen to pop and rock music on the car radio. Katy Perry and Ke$ha make me smile and sing along (badly). I love watching Mike and Molly and Big Bang Theory. I’m not high brow. Maybe that’s why the opening ceremonies left me a little cold.

I appreciated the preparation and artistry that went into the performance, but it lacked energy. I kept waiting, but it never quite got there. I was waiting for the part when the crowd would dance along and everyone in the building would be one big happy family, but nope, I didn’t see it or feel it.

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The Spice Girls at the London Olympics 2012

I get that Russia has a grim history. I get that the Soviet regime was oppressive and that life in Russia, under the Soviets or not, is difficult. I get that they are geographically isolated from the rest of the world, and that they do things their own way. Points conceded. But don’t they ever like to have fun? The opening ceremonies didn’t give any hints that they might.

The dancing was lovely, the red industrial machine was interesting and thought-provoking, and the time and effort that went into the show was commendable. I will grant you all of these. But honestly, I kept hoping the Spice Girls would show up and save the show.