For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge fan of the Olympics, and particularly the Winter games. Perhaps it's because I am more active in the Winter. Cold temps and dry air equals no allergy or asthma attacks for this girl. Sign me up! I grew up skiing and skating (and swimming, one of my favorite sports in the Summer games). I dreamed about being the fastest skier in the world, as I sped down the slopes as fast as I could. That dream ended when I had a bad accident involving icy conditions and the scraping of my face. I've only been skiing downhill a few times since then, and I can't really shake the fear. I also dreamed of being a figure skater, while twirling around on my roller skates in the basement or garage. I knew that one would never happen, though, because my middle name is definitely not Grace.
Maybe I could do the luge or bobsledding, I thought. I always did love going down water slides at high rates of speed.
I remember being around three or four, ice skating on a pond with my cousins. The boys were playing hockey and my female cousin was trying to get me to do some figure skating moves with her. I could barely stand up, but I wanted so desperately to play hockey with the boys. I was told that the girls don't play that, which at that point was probably not a bad idea, seeing as I would have gotten run over that day for sure. But then it sort of sat in the back of my mind and I never thought about playing hockey as an option. I took up roller skating after that, and besides fantasy figure skating, my favorite thing to do was skate as fast as I could around in a circle in my garage or basement (a la Roller Derby). Maybe I should have been a speed skater, although I probably wasn't as fast as I thought I was.
Fast forward to high school. The Mighty Ducks were popular, the Providence Bruins had just come to town, and I had a friend with some swamp land in her back yard which froze very easily. I perfected my ice skating, my step-father made me a stick, and I played a lot of make-shift hockey. Roller hockey in the summer. I remember going on a church youth group trip to NH and playing hockey with the boys on a pond while the girls did... whatever they did. It didn't matter to me, because I wanted to be outside in the below-0 Fahrenheit weather, playing pond hockey.
So if I had to pick a Winter sport to play in the Olympics, ice hockey would be my no-brainer decision. Runners up would be curling, which I am determined to try someday, and cross-country skiing, which I have enjoyed the couple of times I've tried it. Even while watching the racers wince in excruciating pain on my television, I think to myself, that looks like fun! I obviously have a different definition of fun than most people. After all, I enjoy having pucks hurled at me while I voluntarily jump out in front of them to stop them. Not too normal.
I can't wait to cheer on Team USA as they play Team Canada in both the men's and women's hockey finals this week. I do have a special love for Canada and all things Canadian, but I am a member of USA Hockey (and citizen of this country, for that matter) so I have to cheer for my "hometown" teams this time. Go USA!