Meditations on the Winter Games

I used to dread the Olympics. Watching the athletes pull off incredible feats of physical impossibility while making it seem easy and effortless always made me feel inadequate. As if I were a human failure because I’m unable to skate with grace and poise, or hurdle down the side of a mountain at close to a hundred miles per hour while standing on a pair of slim, fragile strips of wood, or throw and spin myself high into the air with extreme style and flair while strapped to a board. Watching the Olympics always reminded me that I am not as fast as my peers, or as graceful, or as strong, or as flexible and that if I didn’t get off my fat ass and lose eleventy kajillion pounds, I would never, ever, amount to anything.

This time around, though, I have come to realize and accept something. I am simply not an athlete, and there is no reason why I should be expected to be. The fact is that Olympians fall in the top 1% of the bell curve, and I happen to be in the bottom 1%. No amount of trying to make myself into an athlete is going to change that, and that’s OKAY. No where is it written that we all 6 and a half billion of us have to be good at sports! I’m good at so many other things: writing, and knitting and playing the trombone. I’m funny and smart, and I am a kick ass friend.

So FUCK YOU president’s fitness challenge, and all the P.E. teachers who berated me for being the slowest, the weakest, the least flexible in the class! There’s more to existence than being athletic.

So this year, having accepted my non-athletic fat ass for what it is, I have really been able to appreciate and enjoy the Olympics. Watching Shaun White win the gold was surprisingly fun, and I watched Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal run with my heart in my throat. Plus, I’ve discovered speed skating and the guy with the slightly disturbing facial hair. Speed skating has got to be my favorite – – a roller derby on extremely sharp knives. Good times.

Have you been watching the Olympics? Have you been enjoying the Olympics? What’s been your favorite so far?