Chuck Brooks: A Winter Olympian lurks inside us
We have arrived at the weekend of Opening Ceremonies and "Let The Games Begin!" Winter or summer, I love the Olympics. In another life, I believe I might have been an Olympian.
If you're laughing, I'll wait for you to catch your breath. Done? OK.
In a parallel universe where there's another you and you and you and ... me, the Olympics are taking place as well, but some of us are participants rather than observers. The question is in what event would our doppelgangers (our duplicates for you non-sci fi folks) be entered? Hmmm...
Well, I'd have to recall my earlier life and the various activities I enjoyed doing in the winter. Let's begin with sledding.
Who didn't love sledding when they were kids? Do kids even do that anymore? A sled was one of the best Christmas presents you could get. Then there was the saucer. A circular piece of plastic we sat in, holding on dearly to the hand grips on both sides. A huge favorite was the group-friendly toboggan. If one of our friends had a toboggan, they were suddenly our best friends.
There were two places most of us did our sledding. The first was behind the local hospital. It had a hill in the back that fed directly into the lake. And we rarely worried about thin ice because winters were winters back then. The other place we had this kind of fun was at the beach where they had constructed a multi-story ramp.
Like the water parks today, we'd climb the stairs to the top, position ourselves on our sled, saucer or toboggan and push ourselves onto the ramp. In no time at all, we were going at breakneck speed and feeling a thrill of a lifetime.
So, perhaps my event would be the bobsledding event.
Skiing is also in my past. I have a vast array of skiing experiences. When I was in high school, we went skiing once, but I handled the hills like a pro. You have to realize, however, I had watched an Abbott and Costello movie over 50 times where Lou Costello was trying to escape from bad guys by skiing in Costello fashion. He displayed a numerous assortment of skiing maneuvers and, as any young boy watching TV, I watched and learned.
If that's not enough, I innocently walked into the role of Ski Club adviser in my first year at RHS. I assume my lone experience from high school clinched the position. I shared my prowess with the students who attended the trips after school. Once I even tried to help one of my chaperones, only to have her cross in front of me on the biggest hill at Afton Alps, causing us to tumble half the length of the hill. However, I just got up, brushed myself off, and returned to the chair lift.
Yup. It might be the skiing event for me.
Perhaps curling would be something I'd be better suited for because I not only swept a lot of floors in my adolescence, but I also bowled a good game, and after all, curling is nothing more than slow bowling. I'll have to think about that one for a bit longer, but that event might work too. The biathlon. Hmmm... I likely wouldn't be any good in the biathlon because cross-country skiing bores me and I am not a gun fanatic. Nope. Cross biathlon off the list of possibilities.
Skating, however, would be my first choice.
In recent years, I've come to love watching on television, and as a youngster, I skated for countless hours. I didn't start until I was 10 because that's when we moved to a house that had a backyard leading to the lake. Just down the block was the local park and in the winter, the city cleaned off an area of the ice so we could skate every night. They had a warming house and music playing all the time they were open.
Once again, I refer back to learning some of my skating moves from Lou Costello who, in that aforementioned movie, he worked as a waiter on skates. A bunch of people formed a line by holding hands and started skating around the rink. Before Lou knew it, his hand inadvertently caught the hand of the end person in the line and he was thrown into the role of the "end of the whip." Backwards and forwards, the man demonstrated great skating ability and this little boy of seven took fastidious mental notes.
When I was with my friends, I tried to emulate his every move. My friends loved it. They giggled with astonishment.
Yup. Skating. I have to say that's probably my doppelganger's event!
I know this much ... with football done and March Madness a month away, I'm grateful to two weeks of the Winter Olympics. I'll be watching 24/7. Will you?
Next week is Valentine's Day already! And it's also the arrival of my first Social Security deposit. Think I'll have something to say about that? I think you're right. Have a good week!