Not bad for a fat girl


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.



My Son the Athlete

golf-hole*304xx1663-1345-0-457My son plays high school sports. I  thought I would never type this sentence, but it’ s true. He plays tennis and golf, and enjoys them both a great deal.

His father is a natural athlete. He was an all-state football player in high school and played on a semi-pro  basketball team (whatever that is) in his youth.

I, on the other hand, am not an athlete by any definition of the word. Oh sure, I played  intramural basketball in junior high, and I played on the co-ed rec volleyball team for a season, but I was awful at both.

My son takes after me in many ways; most of them I’m proud of. Athletically, however, I wish he were slightly more like his father.  Still, he has come a long way.

When he was small he hated to crawl. He was much happier just being carried from place to place. Once he finally mastered that crawling thing, usually with a pathetic outstretched arm in the hopes of a pity ride, he took forever to learn to walk. At last, at nearly a year and a half, he figured it out.

Bike riding was similar. He got a slick bike with training wheels around kindergarten age. It wasn’t my idea. I knew he lacked the coordination for it, and I was right. It sat in the garage for a long time, next to the battery powered mini-motorcycle (also not my idea). They both gathered dust until one day he decided to try it again. Of course by then he was much bigger. Still, it wasn’t his thing. Finally, in the fifth grade he received a new bicycle, one suitable for a ten year old, not a five year old. We took him to the park, he rode on the grass, and he finally learned. He was rewarded with a twenty dollar bill found in the parking lot. I guess the gods were pleased.

This boy has tried gymnastics, basketball, flag football, and tackle football. He never quit any of the sessions for which he was enrolled, but he also wasn’t exactly a super star. That was okay with us and okay with him. He has lots of other talents, so if he wasn’t an athlete no big deal.

2Then came high school. One day I picked him up from school and he announced that he had joined the golf team. The golf team? He had never even held a golf club as far as I knew, aside from a few games of mini-golf. They told the kids that no experience was necessary, so he tried it and liked it. A lot. Now he golfs and has a varsity letter.

He also plays tennis. This is something he has done for years in the summer. My mom is a big tennis player, at least she used to be. She has signed up all the grandkids for tennis lessons, so my boy was familiar with the sport. Still, a week here and a week there does not a tennis player make. Last year as a freshman he decided not to try out, but this year he went for it. The other day he played his first varsity match, and he was happy.

I’m so proud of my athlete. I’m proud of him for finding his own way and sticking to it. I’m proud of him for working hard to improve in both of his sports, and for enjoying himself along the way. I’m proud of him for not giving up when it gets difficult or when he is defeated in competition. I’m proud of him for being a good teammate and for never missing practice. This boy constantly impresses me. I can learn a lot from him. I’m proud to be his mother, even if I’m not an athlete myself.


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.