Monday, March 06, 2006

Olympic Highlights: Better Late Than Never

I know, I know, the Olympics ended over a week ago. Gimme a break.

Jonah enjoyed watching the winter Olympics with me more than I thought any two-and-a-half-year-old kid could. The skiing, the skating, the sledding, the snowboarding, we watched most of the primetime coverage. He especially liked the downhill skiing—in particular the Super G. He did worry, he told me, that they were going too fast. He would like to try skiing “when I am a little bit bigger”.

Hannah wanted to know of the male figure skaters: “Is that man trying to be a woman?” Always with the salient questions, that one.

John, coming into the bedroom (yes, our TV is in our bedroom and do you know how many people have told us how refreshing it is to see a livingroom without a television in it?) during the icedancing, commented that “It’s really kind of lame.” Why yes it is rather much the lame “sport”, but it’s part of the Olympics so we watch. And we gasp when the man drops the poor woman. And we feel bad for the fellow that she will never speak to him again.

I’ve always liked the winter Olympics much more than the summer games. I find the winter sports to be more thrilling, more mysterious, more outrageous by far. After all, lots of people swim, most of us can run, and the javelin throw sounds more exciting than it really is. But the short-track speedskating relay? Who thought that up? And the ski jump? Drunk, suicidal Scandinavians maybe? Part of this has to do with spending many of my growing up years in a part of the world where winter sports—and Les Jeux D’Hiver—were very much part of the air I breathed. It’s not that the summer athletes aren’t amazing athletes, it’s not that their wins are less joyful. Perhaps it’s the frigid temperatures, but the excitement at the winter games is downright palpable.

I’ve been feeling kind of sad lately that I live somewhere where it never snows. We can see snow from our house sometimes, up on the hills, and we’ll get a dusting every 20 years or so. But I grew up in Chicago and then in the foothills of the French-Swiss Alps where snow—and lots of it—was never an inconvenience for a child. Snow means days off from school, building snow creatures of all kinds, familiar objects transformed into pillowy mounds of pure white, playing outside to the verge of frostbite, coming in from the cold, peeling off layers of wet clothing, hot mugs of cocoa… My poor children are deprived.

1 comment:

DT said...

When were you guys going to be coming South? We MISS you, and Cole is more fun and cute by the day. We have snow up here... you're always welcome!!!