I am a sucker for the Olympics. They tap into everything I love: sports, stories, cornballyness, tearjerker backstories, rooting for your home country, ugh. LOVE.
I love Bob Costas. I am so soothed by him. I would like for him to just talk to me about the Giant Slalom as I drift off to sleep.
I love that the Olympics are in Canada. I love Canada. It seems like such a happy and sane place. It seems like the country that America has always wanted to be, strived to be, but was just never able to pull off. I am almost as happy when the Canadians win as when TEAM USA wins. Almost. I am also happy when Italy wins. I think of being a little kid, and watching men's downhill skiing with my Mom, Grandma and Grandpa and everyone yelling at the TV with nervous clenched fists, and then celebrating when Alberto Tomba won. I remember looking around at them and understanding-- my family is ITALIAN. The 1000000 jars of homemade tomato sauce and the fact that I understood sometimes when they spoke to each other in Italian was normal, it was every day. The Olympics is not normal, it is not every day, and we had two countries to root for.
Back to this century- I was SO HAPPY when those Chinese pair skaters one. I, just as NBC intended, was charmed by their story. I got all teary eyed at the footage of Zhao down on his knee in the middle of the rink, asking her to marry him. And the footage of him saying goodbye to her, leaving her to sleep in the women's dorm while he slept in the men's. You just wanted them to WIN-- to retire and live together for christsake. They've probably been living in a skating factory away from their families since they were three years old. Give them a rest. And they were beautiful.
And Shawn White. Inspiring, that little shit. What a little firecracker. What a hot shot. How fucking awesome is he with the flannel jacket and his own private mountain, private half pipe, private helicopter taking him to practice his super secret bad ass snowboarding tricks. He makes it seems so easy, but he has been doing this forever. He must practice like a madman. There is nothing I like to see more than someone working their little ass off for something they love.
As I watch the Olympics every night (my life is on hold,) what happens in my head goes like this:
This is what you have to do to succeed in life. Love something and work hard to master it. If possible, buy your own mountain, carve your own personal space into it, and take a helicopter there to hide from the world and concentrate on your craft until it is time to reemerge.
The OLYMPICS exemplify EVERYTHING I LOVE ABOUT LIFE. Work HARD and you will get yours-- but if it means TOO MUCH to you, if you let your nerves get to you, YOU WILL FAIL.
There is this intricate, beautiful balance you have to strike in life, in sports, in anything. You have to maintain this balance in order to succeed, whatever that means.
I should be writing more. I should be inside a mountain writing more. I write more than I ever have in my life but I should be doing MORE.
So many people crash and burn. They fall. They wreck themselves. They slam into walls. Their heads crash into ice. The fall flat on their asses. They work their whole lives for this, and they fall in front of everyone. The whole world. Sometimes they don't even qualify to compete. Then what?
Then what do you do?
You either give up and do something else.
Or you get up and start all over again tomorrow.
It's one or the other.
For me, this reminds me that I only have one option. I can only keep trying.