Local ‘Olympians’ deserve a chance at the gold

Categorized as 03/01/10 Goshen News column

Five rings, 82 flags, and the snow-covered slopes of Canada. Sweaty, triumphant athletes. Sweaty, dejected athletes. Gold medals, silver medals, and no medals at all. Stories of hardship, of endurance, of overcoming.
Throw in skis, skates, snowboards, bobsleds, and lots of Tylenol, and you have all the ingredients that made up the XXI Winter Olympics.

By now, you know of my great fondness for the Olympic Games. Bob Costas, the consummate announcer, is my personal friend. He’s just not fully aware of it yet.

Unfortunately (and I mean very unfortunately), I was unable to take in much of the coverage this time around. Thanks to a change in my work schedule, most nights were spent at the keyboard, documenting cardiac issues for patients in another state instead of cheering Team USA in my PJs. And since I’ve not yet performed that one little procedure in the dark of night (i.e., a remotectomy under local anesthesia on a certain person’s right hand), things haven’t exactly gone my way. Nuts and double nuts.

On my List of Things To Do Before I Gather My Eternal Reward, I’ve penciled in, “See the Olympic Games in person for once.” Point A under that on the outline reads, “Buy a cool Olympic beret, take pictures with American athletes in matching hats.”

Piffle if you want, but that’s my dream.

When news broke that Chicago was in the running for 2016, I thought my chance was imminent. Then, as you’ll recall, they sent the wrong people to lobby on behalf of the Windy City, and my dream died.

The fact that I know at least two people that have attended the Games is cold comfort. Just because they got to go to Atlanta in 1996 doesn’t make me feel better. Yippee for them and all that. Actually knowing some Olympians personally? Well, that’s another story.

Fact is, I’ve got people in my inner circle who absolutely deserve to compete in the Games. You’ve heard, for instance, about Mr. Schrock’s legendary sense of smell. If there were a bare-knuckle, pointblank sniff off, he would dominate the field. Just don’t ask him to compete in spandex. He’ll shut down.

Son number one can consume peanut butter in such quantities and at such speeds that he’d leave the other contestants bawling like sissies. Never mind that it requires a Roto-Rooter treatment afterwards. Bringing home the gold is worth it, by cracky.

My brother can burp the ABCs. Surely, surely there’s a place for him at the Games.

Someone else I know is a drama queen. Why couldn’t we gather the most dramatic of the Colorful Ones from around the world and let them go head to head? This contest would be full of capital letters and exclamation points and eye rolls. We’d learn who can go from laughing to crying with the quickest turnaround time.

If you don’t have a DQ (drama queen) in your life, you’re missing out. These are the roller coaster folks, the ones who let you ride along with their ups and downs. They laugh a lot, they cry some, and if they’re bored, you’ll know that, too.

In our family circle, the excitement level and positive energy spike by about 250% when our DQ hits the room. She adds life and color in spades. For her contribution, I just want The One We Love to have her chance at some Olympic hardware.

Then there’s this – some of our number are champion dawdlers. They might as well win medals for it.

Frankly, if this becomes a sanctioned sport, I really look for the big shoe companies to come around, throwing money at us by the fistful. Why, you ask? Well, they offer sponsorships to the fastest runners in the world, which is a poor use of their resources, if you ask me. Those athletes are generally moving too fast for the spectators to see what logos they’re wearing anyway. It’s all a blur.

If they would put their name and logo on a pair of slow-moving shoes, however, a lot more people would be able to read it. For a lot longer, too. All Nike would have to do is tweak their slogan from, “Just do it,” to, “Just do it, only slower.”

This could be huge, a veritable gold mine, not only for our local “athletes,” but for the sponsors who dare to think outside the box.

For team sports, I’ll put my pizza-loving crowd up against the best in the world, including the crack deep-dish chowing team from Italy. We can pretty much vaporize a large before you can say, “Pass the pepper.”

Same goes for a dozen Krispy Kremes. Boom. Gone. Histoire before the glaze is even dry. In fact, we’re blowing through the second dozen before the rest of you have licked the sugar off your fingers from your first couple. We’re that good.

It would be a sacrifice, a labor of love, but if we are asked to compete on behalf of our country, we’re willing to be inconvenienced. Just don’t ask us to wear you-know-what.

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