Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Olympic Moment

I’ve always been crazy about the Olympics. There is something about the games that have always captivated me, even at a young age. When I was a kid, I used to make my parents watch me dive into the pool (over and over), and then I’d make them give me a score, just like in the Olympics (“9.6!” “9.2!”). It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the scores were very arbitrary, since all of my dives probably looked exactly the same – a little clumsy. Then as a teenager I was determined that my best friend (also a teenager) and I would be going to the summer games - solo. Little did I know that my mom wouldn’t let me drive out of our small town, let alone take a long jaunt to see the Olympic games. But that didn’t stop me from saving a few dollars in a white envelope that I cleverly labeled as “Olympic Money.” Later, when I was in college, I happened to be walking through the student center one night, when I saw a sign advertising a talk given by an Olympic-medal winner. I glanced at my watch, and I happened to be there just in time for it to start. I took my seat among a crowd of other students, and I listened to this Olympic swimmer talk about his experiences in the Olympics and in life. He talked a lot about his faith and how it motivated him to do all that he accomplished. I was already feeling inspired. Then, he did something so unexpected and amazing that I thought I might self-destruct from excitement. He passed around his medals for each person to see and touch! First came the gold. I treasured my few seconds in holding it. It was heavier than I thought, and I know I must have broken out in a ridiculously large grin. Next came the silver medal. By this time, I had seen other people putting the medals on, and I figured I’d do the same. So, for a few brief seconds in my life, a real Olympic silver medal hung around my neck. I hadn’t earned the right to wear it, but I still felt incredibly grateful for the chance. I know many Olympians keep their medals in glass cases to preserve them. But I thought it said a lot about this athlete that he wanted to share them with the rest of us, and it made for a moment that I’ll never forget. My love affair with the Olympics continues. Just this weekend Husband and I watched some of the Olympic trials, and we saw three Americans break world records. (I might have had to wipe away a few small tears at those moments.) I told Husband that one day we’d go see Olympic games in person. I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear what he said at first (“Don’t you think you’d see them better on TV?”) and remember what he said the second time (“Ok, we’ll go sometime.”) Thankfully, he’s not as strict as my mom was, and we probably won’t keep a white envelope for saving the money. But the same excitement about the Olympics is still there.

8 comments:

Ann M. said...

It is really awesome that you got to see (and wear!) some medals, even if they weren't yours. Because really, how many people even get near one?

A friend of mine used to live in Colorado Springs, and we went to the Olympics training center there. Everyone was pretty much gone--because they were competing in SLC, I think--but we got to see the Olympic flame display, which is out on the roof and was just awesome.

I really hope you get to go one day!

Reynie said...

I love the Olympics. For years I wore my little red, white, and blue leotard like Mary Lou's. I loved it!

This July my Dad is going to the Transplant Olympics. I am going up for opening ceremonies. A little over one year ago he had a heart transplant and is doing great. This is a very exciting thing for him. I am so proud of him. The olympics are exciting no matter what the group!

NavyCS said...

There has got to be a way to get to China! Mmm, mil hop to Japan... OK, may be tough - when are the Olympics coming back to this side of the world?

My first recollection of the Olympics was me rooting for Mark Spitz to win another Gold in the 72 games.

Anonymous said...

Tootie, You may just get your chance to go to the olympics. I heard that a particular town close to your heart is in the running. Keep your dream alive. I also am a closet olympian wannabe. Well alright maybe it's right out in plane sight.

A, B & C said...

My uncle and cousins went to the games in Atlanta and loved it! It's actually a complicated process and they had all these forms to fill out to get spots in certain events. I hope you get your dream one day, just plan early... they bid for the events they wanted a year before and didn't get everything they wanted!

Annie said...

I worked as a sub teacher at a Jewish day school years ago and was struck silent when I learned that the Admin. had been an Olympic swimmer...awe-struck to have stood next to someone who'd competed. Wow. Of course now, she's the mother of 10 (yes 10) children. What a gal!

Kel said...

The olympics are really awe inspiring...just the idea of being able to compete with that level of talent...wow!
~K

Crazy Daisy said...

Wonderful post!