Wednesday, August 13, 2008
My Olympic Events or, Damn, I'm Old
by Judy Merrill Larsen
I remember when I realized that most of the athletes at the Olympics were younger than me. It seemed to happen suddenly. I went from wanting my hair to look like Dorothy Hamill's (1976) when I was 16, to realizing one of the athletes in the 1992 Olympics was a kid I used to babysit for. But, thanks to some of the events, like marathons and shooting and stuff (not sexy events, I know), there were usually some athletes who were older than me.
For instance, this year, if I were 7 years younger, Dara Torres would fit that spot.
But this time around, what has caused me to gasp is not the record-breaking swimming events nor the stunning agility of the gymnasts, but the realization that there are parents of athletes who are younger than me. Yes, that's right, I'm almost closer in age to some of the grandparents of the athletes than I am to the athletes themselves.
And quite honestly, that irritates me. I'm not ready to be sent to a rocking chair with my food mushed up for me to gum.
So, I think we need to rethink some events. I mean, heck, they discarded that whole amateur athlete position. And they now stagger the games so the winter and summer games aren't in the same year. They tossed out the scoring for gymnastics so there's no such thing as a perfect 10 anymore. What we need are events that hinge on having some life experience. (Isn't that nicer than saying events that are aided by cellulite, bifocals and creaky knees? Thought so.)
Without further ado, here are events I'd be likely to medal in:
~wine opening. Oh yeah, I can swivel that cork out without even blinking. In one motion and with no cork residue left behind. And, to show even more versatility, I'm not a wine snob--grocery store sale wine is fine by me.
~lie detection. C'mon, if you're a parent of teens worth your salt, you're right here with me. When said teen gets a bit vague, a little shifty-eyed, you know the lie is coming. And, then I just smile, nod, act as though I bought it, but watch out, kiddo, because I will trap you in it like nobody's business. You won't know what hit you. Yup, I'm that good. (15 years of teaching high school really hones this skill, too.)
~sock sorting. I may own the world record on this one. And all those socks with no mate? They're in the top drawer in the laundry room and, oh baby, when the mate turns up it's a special day around here. And every 9 months or so I dump the drawer and we start all over.
~rolling-eye stare-down master (vs. teen-age girl category). I will not be moved. Not a whit. Roll your eyes, sigh with disgust, doesn't matter. And, I also up the degree of difficulty by being able to do this at the mall. In Abercrombie and Hollister. Oh yeah. High five, right here.
~spaghetti sauce maker extraordinaire. Over the years, the recipe evolved into perfection. I love it. My kids love it. My husband loves it. Friends ask for the recipe. And just the other day, my older son called me from Seattle to ask for the recipe now that he's out on his own. I dare say this category might need to be retired.
~and, as long as we're in the kitchen, let's include gravy made from scratch. With turkey drippings (but no giblets. Those are just slimy.) and broth and a bit of cornstarch mixed with cold water. Bring to a boil. Simmer.
~I'm pretty damn good at camouflage dressing (and perhaps the two previous events help explain this one). No, not as in war-torn fashion. I'm talking about understanding the "what not to wear" mantra. Understanding what makes me look slimmer. I might not quite be at medalist level here, but I'm willing to push myself and hope one of these years to be on the medal stand.
~Finally, I'm a font of unwanted advice on any topic you can imagine. And, I manage to slip it in without even being asked for it (telepathic, I guess).
So, what events would you like to see? What would you medal in? We can do this and, I promise, no goofy team outfits or chapeaus.