The Practical Winter Olympics
The 2010 Winter Olympics open today in Vancouver, B.C. I love watching the Olympics, especially if I can do it from the warm comfort of my home. The athletes are all so strong and agile, so determined and dedicated. They are the top contenders in their sports, an elite group of humans who do amazing things many of us would never even try. Snowboarding in a half-pipe and shooting 20 feet into the air while doing tricks? Not gonna happen. Luge down an ice tube at a gazillion miles per hour wearing a helmet and a rubber suit? Um, no. Ski down a mountain--a MOUNTAIN!--on two pieces of fiberglass with only two skinny sticks to help keep you upright? I don't think so. I'll be right here, on my couch sipping tea and wearing my fuzzy slippers, thank you very much.
We enjoy watching these fine athletes but know we will never be in their class, never achieve such grand accomplishments. Besides, when will being able to hurl yourself down a slippery mountain at 60 miles per hour ever come in handy? For those reasons, I present to you my list of Practical Winter Olympic events. Doable by your average Joe or Jane. No athletic prowess required.
1. Shoveling—the use of a regular snow shovel or larger “scoop” shovel is permitted. Style points for creating a dump pile that can be climbed without slipping back down again when halfway up.
a. Driveway—team and individual
b. Roof—team of two: one on the roof shoveling, the other on the ground removing snow from front of house and to call 911 when “roofer” hits unexpected patch of ice.
2. Walking icy sidewalk w/o grippers, carrying hot coffee—10 points for no spillage, 5 if some slop-over, 0 if the cup is dropped. Style points for avoiding fall awarded. Refills are available.
3. Driving an unplowed road—navigate a road you *know* is under there somewhere. Points deducted if you follow another vehicle’s tracks.
4. Driving an icy road the morning of a melt/freeze cycle, before sander arrives—style points for slide control and number of spins, awarded as necessary.
5. Wood cutting--Though usually done in summer and fall, wood cutting and its accompanying activities (splitting and stacking) are necessary skills for winter survival (like how basketball is a sport typically played in winter but part of the Summer Games).
6. Car window ice scraping
a. Using regulation scraper
b. Using whatever you can find inside the car or on your person
Now, these events will not get your name splashed across the sports pages, or get your image on a box of Wheaties, or your name in a record book. There will be no gold medals awarded at the end of the season, but if you can excel at one or more of these, your spouse/partner/significant other will be appreciative. That's better than a hunk of metal any day, isn't it?
BTW, good luck to all the athletes at the REAL Olympics. You are all amazing and inspire the rest of us to go for the gold in whatever we do.