I have a fever...OLYMPIC FEVER! Do you have it? I sure as heck do!
I had been thinking about how different the Olympics are today than when I was younger. These days you can watch it on a bunch of different channels and online. That's not quite how it was when I was growing up.
I always preferred the Summer Olympics to the Winter games. I think it's because that's how I spent my summer. We didn't go to summer camp. We went to Mom-mom and Pop-pop's for the summer. We would spend our mornings in the pool and then park ourselves in front of the TV after lunch until it was time to go to bed.
I loved watching every single event and learning the stories behind the athletes. And every now and then I would dream of winning a medal. Oh, but not in anything super athletic. Don't be silly. I didn't want to have to move or anything. So I figured my best shot was a Skills medal. Of course I didn't think that no matter what, you still have to be fit and in shape. I didn't think that far ahead.
Without ever lifting a bow, I dreamed of a medal in Archery. I even went so far as to picture myself winning a rowing medal. That's very physical I know, but you're sitting. Basically, if it didn't involve running around or moving your lower body strainuously then I would picture me doing it. Even table tennis was out of the question because there was too much movement. I figured I could excel in badminton because I was really good at it at family parties, and then I saw it being played and it was way out of my league. I was all over synchronized swimming, but you don't touch the bottom of the pool so that was out.
By far the best Summer Games ever was 1984...You may remember it as the year of the Soviet Boycott or the year that Los Angeles hosted the game or the year that Carl Lewis won 4 gold medals or the year the Mary Lou Retton won the all-around gymnist title. But, I remember it as the year of McDonalds! That was the year that you got little playing pieces with your meals. On those playing pieces was an Olympic event. If the US won a medal you won! You got a Big Mac for the Gold, French Fries for the Silver, and a soda for the bronze. It was pure heaven for me....it pretty much fed for for two weeks. With the Soviet boycott the Americans dominated. Big Macs for everyone!
It makes me sad now to think about how the little fat girl would stuff her face with Big Macs and French fries while watching these world class athletes and not dreaming the big dreams. That even then I didn't believe in myself fully. I didn't feel like I could ever be that athletic
By far my most favorite Olympic athlete ever was Greg Louganis. Watching him dive was one of the most amazing moments. He was amazing. Almost made me want to dive. Almost. And who didn't love Mary Lou Retton? Name one little girl that watched her and didn't want to be just like her. Heck, I'm short enough for it. I would let myself fantasize about it for a moment and then I would remember that I can't even do a cartwheel. Somersaults I'm good with, but that will only get you so far.
Do you remember the Dan vs. Dave campaign? I'll refresh your memory. Back in 1992 Reebok had started a campaign for the Greatest Athlete in the World. Dave Johnson and Dan O'Brien were both favorites. The campaign started during the superbowl. It was a massive campaign. And then the worst possible thing happened. Dan O'Brien failed to qualify because of the pole vault. DOH!
Fear not, he came back and won the Gold in 1996...thank goodness. Okay, so fast forward two years and he writes a book: Dan O'Brien's Ultimate Workout. I happened to be working at the local Borders Bookstore during his tour. When they mentioned that he was coming to the store I just about died. DIED!
They let me be the table runner. I would be with him the entire time. It was a dream. Afterwards he signed my book and we got some pictures. Now, I'm short. He's tall. Wouldn't it be cute if I stood on a chair for the picture? Awwww...I loved this picture. I hadn't seen it in a while and searched for it tonight. I found it. And I cried. I look like a giant next to him. Why did I think was cute? I know part of it is the angle of the camera, but not the whole thing. UGH.
So I bought this book. This Ultimate Workout book. Wanna know a secret? I never really opened it until tonight. It's actually pretty cool. I will take it to the pool tomorrow to read. So how does meeting this incredible athlete never make me face myself? Why did I not stop and change everything immediately?
Better late than never I guess.
Here I sit watching the opening ceremonies and just so excited for the world. And all I want is a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream with magic shell...it's how we celebrated at Mom-mom and Pop-pop's.
ps-Just so you know, this is the first year that the women of Saudi Arabia are allowed to compete in the Olympics. Let's give a shout out to these ladies! HOLLA!
pps-I know I have a lot of readers from all over the world. I hope you enjoy the games :-)
If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support.