Armchair Athlete Wins Gold!

I have never been an athlete. Or even an ‘athletic supporter.’ I’ll watch the Maple Leaf’s on TV with my hubby, because misery loves company. (Though not this year! We’re so hopeful right now!) Otherwise I feel no affinity for one team over the next. I’ll cheer for the Flin Flon Bombers, but that’s home town pride.

With the Olympics in full swing, Clarence and I have stopped watching other shows. From sunrise to sunset, we’re all about the games. We enjoy every sport, but I can’t help feeling that athletically, figure skating trumps the luge and any kind of skiing beats the bobsled. But my inner critic really shows up when it comes to curling.

I’m having difficulty with choices the skips make. ‘No! Take them out!’ I’ll holler at the TV. Clarence never curled so he isn’t as opinionated. But I’ve just watched Kevin Koe throw a draw with such little weight that it reminded me of myself in grade ten. Come on. Be better than the freshman me, Kevin. Be better!

I used to hold Canada to a very low athletic standard. We were killing it in the music business so who cared about the Olympics? Apparently, we Canadians do. Currently, we’re third in total medals and I can’t help wondering where all these coordinated, hard working people came from. How does one decide to go from snowboarding over the weekend to flipping off a ramp at seventy klicks an hour while performing twists and somersaults, then hurtling straight down while trying to land on one’s feet? Someone with a death wish. Where will it end? With polar bears waiting at the bottom, ready to eat the contestants who land in the wrong spot. It’s getting very ‘Rollerball’ in Korea.

The luge might be my sport. I could do it if someone tied me to the machine with a pillow beneath my head so I wouldn’t have to stress my muscles. I’d definitely scream all the way down. But unless fear is a speed enhancer, a successful arrival time would be purely accidental. And really, isn’t everybody’s? Are there things lugers are doing to provide a better outcome? Mostly it looks like a slippery death run with a low survival rate. If so, there’s probably a praying component in this event. Without the pillow, the whole thing is like one long and difficult sit up. Hopefully, the payoff is rock hard abs and a medal. Not a concussion or a broken leg.

I can’t help noticing that when we’re winning medals, we like to share in the glory. ‘We won gold! We took silver! We got a bronze! When a Canadian team or athlete loses, though, its all on them. ‘Oh, so and so really choked. Too bad for us.’ We had no part in it. Which we never do, of course. But winning draws us in and makes us feel like part of a team. Like the Canadian Tire ad says, We all play for Canada. It’s a nice thought for all the couch potatoes, including me. The fact that the athletes worked so hard to get to Korea should earn our unending support and approval. It doesn’t always work that way.

If I could offer up some alternative events for people like myself, none of them would be athletic. I’ve heard they’re considering video gamers for the next Olympics. The athletes would be fifty pounds overweight, with a steady stream of snacks nearby to keep them nourished during the competition. If that’s a potential sport, I’d like to suggest the art of talking be another category. Not debating, otherwise people would have to be smart. Not lectures, for the same reason. Just talking. It would be a people’s choice award kind of thing. I’d enter myself as a candidate. If we can make it happen, I’m counting on some hometown support. Hopefully all of Flin Flon will get on board, and all will be able to say, ‘Yahoo! We got a gold in the conversation category! And if I don’t win, feel free to let your inner critic rain down. On second thought, we’d better hold local tryouts. It’s only fair.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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