I like the Winter Olympics. Mostly because they have hockey but also because they have lots of weird sports you never even think about except during the winter olympics. You can watch people yell at each other while they slide rocks across the ice. You can watch people ski around with rifles until they all collapse from exhaustion. People use terms like swizzle with a straight face, and I think we can all agree that Scandinavians have cool names.
Two of the most impressive events at the Olympics are luge and skeleton. These people sled down a curvy sheet of ice at seventy or eighty miles an hour. The first winter olympics I really remember are the 1988 games in Calgary. I don’t think they had skeleton then but they did have luge, and I remember thinking it was awesome.
That experience motivated me. The next time it snowed I dug out the old sled and found a steep hill in the pasture. I was ready to make a run for the gold. There were several obstacles standing in my path to Olympic glory. First, the sled was made for a smaller child. I was fourteen at the time and I stuck far out over either end. Second, the snow was only a few inches deep. This meant that there were a few bare spots on my impromptu luge track.
By far though, the biggest obstacle or rather, obstacles, were the cow patties that dotted the hillside. For those of you from the city, cow patties are what cows leave behind when they have finished digesting. As I said, these patties littered the hillside and the thin layer of snow only covered a few. On the bright side it was cold so most of them were frozen. Most, but not all as it turns out.
I was determined however, and did not let that deter my olympic dreams. I can’t really remember how many runs down the hill I made. I only remember the last one. The hill was steep and I had a good rate of speed. I was going headfirst down the hill throwing caution to the wind. About halfway down the sled caught a frozen cow patty and came to an abrupt stop. Several of Newton’s laws of motion worked against me at that moment. I continued down the hill sans sled, as the French might say.
This wild journey did not last long and I made, what pilots call a hard landing, in a cow patty that had yet to freeze. Now I have gotten hay in my mouth and trust me, it tastes better before it goes through the cow. After a lot of spitting and shouting I pulled my sled home utterly defeated. From that moment on I decided to leave olympic dreams to others. I now enjoy the olympics from my couch. Here’s to all those dedicated athletes. May their dreams come true.