Tag Archives: Olympics

You can’t always be what you want–but that’s okay

To paraphrase a Stones’ favorite, you can’t always be what you want.  I’m sorry but the imagesidea that one can be anything one wants if one just tries hard enough is just no true or realistic.  Perhaps we need to rethink this.

I love figure skating.  I watched the nationals all last weekend.  One of the skaters said, “Everyone should figure skate,” and that reminded me why I don’t.  Why, no matter how hard I try, I’ll never, ever be a figure skaters.

imagesA friend and I took lessons when we were young, back when Kansas City still had an ice rink.  My friend did very well, being promoted week after week to higher level classes, learning to twirl and do elementary jumps.  Meanwhile, I didn’t.  I continued to slog around the ice and I couldn’t figure out why I was stuck in the beginners class.  I followed directions.  I did everything the instructor said.  I worked hard in the hope of being able to fly over the ice in a graceful position but never looked like the picture on the left.

Many years later, I discovered my problem, why I was doomed to remain forever in the beginners class:  I have terrible joints.  My ankles were so weak I couldn’t straighten them.  They bent inward which made me more of an on-your-ankles skater instead than a figure skater.  Actually, I skated both on my ankles and on the edges of the blades, lumbering along, trying so hard to do better and never succeeding.  No, never.

And this is why I know that, no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be a figure skater. Not even with the best coach in the world, I won’t.

There are people who tell children, “You can be whatever you want to be if you try hard enough.”  Well, no, they can’t and it’s mean to tell anyone such a completely ridiculous and untrue statement.  No mater how hard I try, I’ll never be a figure skater unless the federation puts in a new category to fit my style of skating.  And I’ll never represent my country in any sport in an international athletic  competition.  Those of you who know me recognize the truth in those words.

Some other realities: 1) No matter how hard she tried, a woman hasn’t been able to imagesbecome president. Shirley Chisholm can attest to that.

2) Until 2008, no matter how hard a black man tried, he couldn’t be elected president either.

3)  No matter how hard I try, I will never be abble to tell the difference between the word “shutter” and “shudder” without checking the dictionary.  Nor can I tell the difference b and a  d  when I’m spelling even though all my teachers told me if I tried hard, I could do that.  I am dyslexic.  Some things are mentally impossible for me.

My point is that people do not succeed in every effort and need to know that’s not the endimagesof the world. Kids, especially, need to understand this.  I awakened to this new truth many years ago after reading a magazine article.  The thesis of the article was that a spider could not make a lemon meringue pie no matter how hard that spider tried.

I am not espousing the opposite point of view that no matter how much you try, you’re going to fail. That’s really depressing.

Could we come to a middle point?  Perhaps “If you want something, work hard because you’re not going to get it if you don’t try but you many not succeed and that’s okay.”  Long and unwieldy, I know.  Maybe you could help me phrase this in a jazzier, more interesting way.

imagesAnd maybe we can stop filling children’s heads with the thought a thin boy’s going to be a heavy-weight boxer if he tries hard enough or a girl will play center for the Louisville Cardinal’s men’s basketball team.  There are other goals, good goals.  Any thoughts on this?  I’d love to hear them.

I’m hooked but only every couple of years

If you aren’t a sports fan, please forgive my blogs about the Olympics.  For those of us who love nearly anything that has running or swimming or throwing, this is like a feast with every form of chocolate spread out in front of us for two weeks. 

So, because I consider myself an expert having watched at least 1000 hours of coverage, here are a few observations.

First,  I LOVE the British commentators.  Anything they say sounds profound or terribly witty.  Two examples: 

During the second half of a close soccer game, the announcer said, “The Americas would rather fancy another goal or two.”

During another soccer game when  a lot of tripping and shoving had started:  “It’s getting a little chippy out there.”

Next observation and a question.  When the amazing American women gymnasts were performing during the team final, one of the announcers (an American not a Brit) said, “When you’re in the presence of greatness, recognize it.”  I reacted negatively.  Although I do admire anyone who works hard to achieve, I’m not sure only being able to fly off a vault constitutes “greatness”.

I’d really like your opinions before it starts getting a little chippy here.

Too many choices: A quandary of Olympic proportions

I love the Olympics.  All together in one place for two marvelous weeks are my favorite sports–basketball, gymnastics, swimming, diving, track—as well as some I’ve never heard of and never foresaw that I’d watch.   For example,  I’ve watched the finals of women’s ten-meter air rifle.  The first gold medal of the games went to China.  I also watched table tennis because the US had a sixteen-year-old playing. 

The problem?  Because there’s so much on,  I have far too many decisions to make.   On Saturday morning, the first full day of coverage, the US women played basketball.  Fifteen minutes later, the coverage of the US women’s soccer began.    I watched soccer because I can do other stuff when soccer’s on.  Sorry to offend any soccer fans, but they will show the soccer goals over and over whereas basketball goes really fast.

My husband says I would win the gold medal for TiVo-ing if there were one.  I’m saving every minute of every event scheduled.  Last week, to warm-up for the Olympics I erased 100 previously saved programs.  The disk is now  75% empty and only 34 programs are still saved.   They had to be great ones to survive the cut.  

Every morning and evening, I study the upcoming events and decide which ones to record and which not to.  George is unhappy with me because I didn’t save the beach volleyball with Brazil playing.  I figure if he wants to watch gorgeous women in bikinis rolling in the sand, he can save that himself.

Do you watch the Olympics?  If so, what are your favorite events?  Do you record everything? 


I hate using sports as a metaphor for life:  it’s too easy and too cliched.  On the other hand, I love sports, watch every minute of the Olympics I can find, buy packages for our cable service for college basketball, watch live events on my computer.   Many years ago, before we could get University of Louisville basketball games on cable, my husband and I drove around Big Spring, Texas, searching for the clear channel coverage from nearly two-thousand miles away.

So, I rationalize.  I do NOT use sports as metaphors for life.  I use sports as EXAMPLES of just about anything.

For example:   Last year, when American gymnast Sam Mikulak dismounted from a  routine, he hit the mat so hard he broke both ankles. This year, he competed for and made the US Olympic team.  That is  PASSION! He must love gymnastics and competition to return to the sport which caused him such pain and months of rehab.   On top of that, his ankles never had time to completely recover so there’s always pain, always the chance his ankle will go out.

Is there anything you love that much? Not me. Two broken ankles and I’m pretty much over that.  Actually, a sprain would discourage me.

Well, that’s not completely true.   I love to write.  Because of scoliosis, sitting at a desk can be painful.   I prop myself up on a pillow in a comfortable chair and have a jerry rigged foot rest–a pillow on  top of a box–to lift my feet.    Recently we purchased a wonderfully comfortable and supporting  reclining chair with ottoman where I edit.  Due to carpal tunnel, I have an ergonomic keyboard, a mouse pad with a soft  cushion for my wrist, and a couple of wrist braces.  And still I hurt but I have to write!  I tell people I write so I don’t have to clean the oven and that’s partly true.  I have no passion for wiping down counters or vacuuming but I do for writing.  

What is your passion?  What do you love to do more than anything else?