I have been watching the Olympics every night and it has been so motivating to get all my chores done by 7pm to settle in – on my couch with my cats and my Cloud – The World’s Greatest Blanket.
Many of these winter sports are not my favorites – I have never done most of them so I cannot really relate. I will NEVER luge, half-pipe, ski slopestyle or ice dance and I am OK with that. I have however, ice skated and skied for fun and I am a northern gal so I have high appreciation for all things Winter.
I am convinced downhill skiing as a family when we were little was what grounded us as a strong team, gave me an appreciation of being outside and the toolkit for how to dress for the cold. Curry Park was the favorite – Mom and Dad both taught skiing lessons there – a one hill wonder practically in our backyard. Later, it was the teenage hangout – there were no malls then – so it was the ski slope or the bowling alley to see and be seen. I don’t remember it being fancy there at all but I am sure I didn’t realize I was part of a small group of kids who had access to the sport.
There were safety lessons in there too – I wanted to wear may hair “down” – of course so it would flow behind me as I traversed the slope. Two braids were the rule in spite of my desire to “ski pretty” so there would be no tragedy going up the tow rope. Dad was a stickler for rules, especially when it involved safety and etiquette.
Cross country was my thing for a long time. In college, I got to participate in the American Berkebeiner – The Birkie – a 50K (35 miles) cross-country ski race in Hayward, WI started in 1973 modeled after the Norwegian event. Road Trip! Drove from Madison to Hayward – once with two friends and once with my rowing teammates – in 1982 or ’83 – somewhere in there…crammed into a hotel room one year and slept on a grade school classroom floor the other year. Very glamorous.
It was one the most physically challenging things I have ever done – took me 8 HOURS. The winners finish in under 3 hours. There are people all along the way at stations to give out oranges, bananas, water and encouragement. I ‘m sure I was saved by the 1 pound Hershey Bar in my fanny pack.
At the end of the race, even if you are almost last and it is dark out, there are people cheering for you at the finish line and someone puts a medal around your neck when you cross over. They announce you, “Here comes another Birkebeiner Champion – Yaaaaayyyyy!” and direct you to the Blueberry Soup area. No matter your finishing place, you are considered a Birkie Champion – love that!
The Blueberry Soup (the caps are mine – to elevate this simple treat to the status it deserves) is specific to the American Birkie and what I remember most – fondly with misty eyes…a warm, fruity compote in a plastic bag that you pour into yourself to revive and realign after the ordeal. I will be attempting this recipe over the weekend to take on my trip down Memory Lane.
Why I thought it would be a good idea to do this twice, I will never know. Carpe Skiem!
Watching these Olympics now, I can only marvel at the discipline and dedication it takes to compete at this level. By virtue of being there they are all Olympians. Sharing the same quest. All champions.
Even on the days when our “champion-ness” is challenged, aren’t we all going for some version of GOLD? To be our best on a microscope daily level or to work on a telescope long-term, big picture level.
What is your “gold?” When do you feel like a Champion? Who do you cheer on at their finish line?
Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin