Is anyone else getting excited for the winter games in Sochi? I can’t wait. I enjoy watching the Olympics so much. How much you ask? Well, the games take precedence over my Real Housewives of Atlanta and Coronation Street viewing.
I have always loved the Olympics for as long as I can remember, both the winter and summer games. As a child, my friends and I would pretend to be athletes in the games. We would twirl up side down off the swings at the park and land like a gymnast from the uneven bars. With our backs arched, one foot planted on the ground, the other foot with the heel off the ground, our arms would be held high above our heads in a victorious stance. We even went as far as to ask our moms to save those frozen juice can lids for us so we could make them into medals. Sometimes our “games” would last all day. This was before kids had Wii, the internet and PS3 and actually had to go outside and invent games. Our podium would be the steps leading up to my friend Melissa Munroe’s house. (hey Melissa, do you still love the Olympic games wherever you are?) If I wasn’t playing gymnast, I would join my brother and his friends for street hockey. I was not exactly a tomboy, and the first elbow to my side or shove on my arse would send me running home crying. Mike Myers, being Canadian himself, has it down to a tee in Wayne’s World. Every kid would be out on a residential street or cul-de-sac, sticks in hand, chasing a tennis ball between the nets and goalie. The sight of the first vehicle coming in our direction would warrant screams of, “car!!” I think almost every boy wanted to be their favourite beloved hockey hero, especially during the games.
Today, I always anticipate the games. Nowadays, I simply marvel at the sheer athleticism of these men and women. The strength, determination and prowess just leave me in complete awe. The things that the human body can do never fails to amaze. The grace of a figure skater, not to mention those triple Salchows and leaps. The quad muscles jutting out the thighs of a speed skater, the powerful arms of a gymnast all tell a story of hard work. The ability to give up most pleasures in the life, and the sacrifices made also amaze me. I cannot fathom being a teenager or child, but not being able to hang out at the mall, go to a friend’s party or just sleep in on a Saturday, because you have to train….hard. The training that most likely begins at the ripe old age of 5 or so. No late nights, but early to bed. . No sleeping in, but up at the crack of dawn to meet your coach at the gym, track or rink. Again, I marvel at the dedication, not only of these athletes, but their family members who sacrifice and support them.
I am patriotic and feel a sense of pride to see the Canadian flag across the back of an athlete, but I cheer on and join in the journey of other athletes from around our world too. I’ve cheered for Jamaican Usain Bolt, American Lolo Jones and Australian Cathy Freeman in the 100 metre dash. I have felt their tension at the starting line, as they make a cross on their chest and kiss the sky. I could only imagine the nerves of steel they must posses before the starting gun goes off. The games do not just take physical strength, but a mental strength beyond belief.
I for one, run a little faster, push a little harder and sweat a whole lot more in my own little corner of the world after watching these inspiring young men and women. After all, in life we all have our own personal medals to be won. Don’t we?