Saturday, August 23, 2008

If I Were In the Olympics

I love the Olympics.

I'm not a huge sports fan, but when the Olympics roll around, I'm riveted.

As a former choreographer, the gymnastics thrill me . . . and rhythmic gymnastics. Oh, and the diving and its artistry . . . and for that matter the grace of pole vaulting and the beautiful strides of the runners.

But I also have bitten down my fingernails in the past days of viewing. The tension drives me crazy. The years and years of sacrifice and training that come down to, in some cases, a few SECONDS of performance. The danger as athletes crash from the high bar or slip on the balance beam. The pressure.

Gets to me every time.

I decided that if I were ever an Olympian, I couldn't be in any sport where a hair-breadth mistake means ruin. The track and field dashes, the swimming sprints. I'd want to know that if I were a bit slow off the block, I could still make it up somehow.

I also couldn't work with props. No relay batons for me. Way too fickle. And apparatus like uneven bars or rings? Not for me. Hurdles? I just know they'd jump up and bite me.

Team sports have always been a problem for me, because I'm terrified of letting others down--which always tended to paralyze me when the kickball was heading my way in third grade recess.

Come to think of it, I'm not good with anything flying toward me - so that leaves out basketball, volleyball, soccer, even ping pong. I tend to duck and close my eyes.

Rowing looks tranquil in the midst of the grueling hard work - but I'd worry about tipping the boat over or dropping my scull.

I also wouldn't want my fate in the hands of subjective judging. Someone on a panel blinks while I'm sticking my landing after a tumbling pass, or doesn't notice my competitor's bent knee in her lay-out back handspring, and I miss the bronze by a tenth of a point. Too heartbreaking.

I suppose if I were in the Olympics, I'd want to run the marathon . . . just me and the road and plenty of time to overcome mistakes. But since I can barely jog around the block, it's not going to happen.

So instead, I'll say a thank you to the gifted men and women who give me a jolt of inspiration each time the Olympics roll around.

I'm in awe of all the athletes willing to take those risks and show us what dedication and sacrifice can bring to innate talent.

And I'll breathe in the lesson they teach me as I ponder Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

If you were in the Olympics, what event would you compete in?

Sharon Hinck


WayneThomasBatson said...

Beach Volleyball for me! Serve it up!

Melody said...

Field Hockey. It was one of the few sports I enjoyed in high school gym.

SmilingSally said...

I would be in the stands cheering, as I am totally NONathletic.

Marti Pieper said...

"Picked last in gym," that's me. I guess I was too busy reading books?

I DID love gymnastics, however, until the day I broke my arm not-flying over the vaulting horse. So if I could actually compete, I'd probably stick with my old favorite.

You're a champion regardless! I encouraged another writer with your publication journey this weekend.

Kat said...

Equestrian. I already ride western. I wouldn't mind learning how to jump and learn dressage.

Sharon Hinck said...

Great choices, everyone!
I relate to the "picked last in gym" (having to do with my tendency to duck and close my eyes when a kickball or baseball came toward me) although for a brief time in eighth grade I was good at high jump....back in the day where you just ran and leaped over the bar (no backward flippy thing). And my hubby pole-vaulted - a skill that still amazes and bewilders me. How DO people do that?