Life is carrying on around me at its usual hyper-speed, yet I pause frequently to catch up on Vancouver 2010’s Olympics and cheer for the many men and women representing their country. I have caught myself physically trying to pump that cross-country skier’s poles a little harder, swing the arms of that speed skater a little wilder, right that over-turned bobsled, and gasp alongside millions of others as downhillers fell mid-course. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I even cheered for everyone else in the SuperG hoping to oust Lindsey Vonn off the podium as she has taken just too big a piece of the limelight pie for my liking! Not even the memory of Turin prepared me for the misery of Canada’s 4-2 men’s hockey loss to the United States last night, as I now must shell out numerous lost wagers of varying nature.
While the naysayers around the globe claim Vancouver has done a poor job of playing host to the world, and the pressure of the world stage has taken its toll on some of our athletes, I am so thrilled nevertheless to see kids emulate various Olympic sports and athletes with the passion and perseverance their limited experience and equipment allows. While they’ve been glued to the usual hockey and downhill skiing events with which they are all well-acquainted, we are also sporting a new snowboard jump in our backyard intersecting the cross-country ski track. With a great deal of improvisation and a hefty dose of creativity, our kids have invented a couple of new winter events:
Dog-boarding: with about 4 fresh centimeters of snow fallen, my husband, my daughter and I took to the farm field near our home for a snowshoe and the first annual dog-board event. She hitches herself into a snowboard (not with bindings mind you but with boot straps), snaps the leashes onto our two dogs, ties the leashes together and yells, “Squirrel!” She was halfway across the field before the dogs realized they’d been had. Of course the endearing quality of dogs is that she duped them 6 or 7 times more before fatigue won over the lack of an actual squirrel to chase!
Backyard biathlon: Though the cross country ski oval around our backyard looks reasonably innocent, I pleaded my concern with gun violence. What will the neighbours think of my son’s air soft gun strapped to his back as he skied around the back yard occasionally taking aim at various targets with his pellet rifle? So he quickly modified his biathlon with periodic stops to lob snowballs into various circled targets instead.
The lake oval: A beautiful sunny Family Day on Bobs Lake spawned the idea to create a small oval capable of accommodating a few would-be speed skaters who timed themselves whipping around the cove!
While delighted with their creativity and envious of their energy, I thank my guardian angels that there hasn’t been enough snow to create a real ski jump and that it’s been too mild for – gulp – a backyard luge run.
Let the Games live on ….