Thursday, January 17, 2008

The road to glory is paved with delusions

The Winter Olympics are headed to Whistler, British Columbia in 2010 and their imminent arrival in my home country has got me thinking a lot about Olympic glory.

My own Olympic glory.

For me.

I’m serious.

When I was a kid I used to watch the Olympics, winter and summer, with fervent excitement. Though not a serious athlete at any other time, during the few weeks they were televised I imagined that one day, one day, I might find myself up there on the podium. You probably did the same thing.

It never occurred to me that it wasn’t within the realm of possibility – Of course I can compete at the Olympic level, I just don’t feel like it right now.

As I got a little older, you might think my Olympic dream would die a sensible death – along with yours probably. But it didn’t. Instead I just methodically started to eliminate the categories in which winning a gold medal was least likely.

Gymnastics was the first to go. I mean how much do those girls weigh? Like, 20 pounds?

Figure Skating? Umm, I don't do sequins. High Jump? I’m only five feet seven inches tall. Downhill skiing? I still have some trouble with black diamond runs. Swimming? I don’t think I want to develop my shoulders that much.

As the years have passed I have had to admit there are fewer and fewer events in which I could potentially win an Olympic gold medal. It’s become a bit of an obsession with me. Just last week I mentioned to Rob that I thought ping pong was still a possibility. You know, if I started now.

He was adamant that the ping pong window had long closed and after a long and surprisingly heated discussion on the relative athleticism of Olympic-level ping pong players, I had to concede he was probably right.

No matter how improbable your dreams, it’s not easy to see windows of opportunity close as you age. Diminishing possibilities are a fact of life, but difficult to accept nonetheless and I am the first to admit that I harbor pretty grand illusions (delusions?) about what is still achievable.

Traveling around the world? Darn tootin’. My grandmother did it in her 70s, 80s and 90s. Charity work in the Third World? You better believe it. That’s a large part of how I plan to spend my retirement.

World-renowned super model? Umm, okay probably not. Prime Minister of Canada? If I wanted to: I just don’t think I want to.

World famous writer and cult hero? But of course! In fact, this blog is my first step on the road to complete global cultural domination

You’re laughing, but I really believe that.

Seriously.

My point, and I do have one, is that most days I still believe that the world is my oyster. I still believe that anything can happen, that I can have greatness thrust upon me or, more likely, if I work hard enough I can still make my fondest desires a reality.

Am I overly optimistic about how the world works or worse, my abilities?

Maybe. Probably. But I’ve never been a shrinking violet and I’ll take self-delusion over self-defeat any day.

As far as Olympic glory goes, my 15-year-old nephew is currently ranked in his age group as the number three slalom skier in Canada (number 31 in the world), so I may well make it to the Olympics yet, if only as a spectator.

That is, if I’m not too busy practicing my archery. I think I still have a shot at a gold medal in archery.

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52 comments:

InTheFastLane said...

I LOVE the Olympics. The Music, the medals, the athletes, everything. I guess I am finally getting the the age where I realize the I will not ever win a medal.

MommyTime said...

Oh, I always have had the fantasy of being an Olympic ice skater. Although I am approximately 20 yrs past the prime for that -- which means about 30 years past when I should have landed my first axel if I wanted to be there with the gold medal on, I still haven't completely abandoned the dream. I indulge whenever the weather is cold enough to give me a patch of ice on a pond somewhere all to myself. No one my but me knows that my wobbly spins and awkward jumps are actually paving the road to glory... :) NEVER abandon your hope...

Are You Serious! said...

Very well written... I think it's good that we still try and shoot for our dreams! :)

Like for me it would be the traveling when I'm 60-70-80 yrs old... THat is if I can still walk and I'm not loosing my mind yet! :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

It is amazing how we truly believe we can do anything as a child. My oldest daughter is having some self-doubt and my husband and I are trying to raise her and her little sister with an "I can do anything" I set my mind to attitude. My mother gave me that great gift.

I've been plagued with some self-doubt in the past year and I've been practicing telling it to go take a hike.

p.s. That is AWESOME about your nephew! How cool! And hey, ping pong...you could do it! ;)

Dawn said...

Go for that gold medal in archery! I think it's great that you still have faith in the possibility of achieving your dreams- no matter what they are. This was really quite an inspiring post and you're a fabulous writer!

OHmommy said...

Seriously. Stop. It.

Why must you write the most perfect post, day after day?

Writing should be an olympic sport and your glory will shine.

In the USA our grade school kids compete in the "Power of the Pen" contest. Written on sight. I was a mentor. Really an awesome competition.

And you my friend, really an awesome writer!

Melissa said...

Archery and ping pong. Have you got a case for your gold medal yet?

painted maypole said...

"shot" at archery - he he he

I'm just passing by olympic dreams onto my child. She's an awesome swimmer. So you know, no pressure or anything kid, but you better practice!!!!!

Abbie said...

You TOTALLY left out the trampoline. What? You didn't know that was a sport now?? Oh my dear, you could DOMINATE in the Trampoline!! Do it! Do it!

Amy said...

you are so funny.

What about synchronized swimming? How hard can THAT be?
(That was the Olympic dream I held on to the longest. My friends and I would practice every summer.)

Kat said...

OMG that all sounds strangely familiar. Stop stealing my thoughts and get out of my head, will you :o).
I totally had the same thoughts over the years.

Family Adventure said...

I'm right there with you. During the LA Olympics, I was down in my basement - daily - practicing my tumbling (ouch) so that one day I'd be there, at the top of the podium, with Mary Lou Retton.

Heidi

wheelsonthebus said...

There is a balance, yes? Between our dreams and the practical. The hope is that, as we get older, the balance moves more towards the practical without falling out the other side.

Emily

Beth said...

We think alike because I still believe I am going to be a famous actress one day.

Do I possess any acting skills? NO. Am I involved in community theatre? NO. Do I have an agent and ever go on an audition? NO.

Am I delusional? Probably.

sky girl said...

You are hilarious and I think what makes this so amusing is that we all do the same thing.

jennwa said...

About your nephew,that is great and exciting.
I still want to be a rock star, even though at a early age I knew I could not sing. But still now while I am watching American Idol, I still wish I could do that.
A lot of singers lip sync,so there is still hope for me yet.

That was a great post. Have a good day.

Manners & Moxie said...

OMG! You are a gal after my own heart. I love what you said here and it speaks volumes to me.

Just this post alone has me thinking of so many delicious things. Thank you!

GoMommy said...

I still believe I can win American Idol, and be "discovered" by a Hollywood Talent agent, become the next great American novelist...

Sad delusions I'm afraid! But what are we without dreams?

Cool for your nephew! I can't wait for the summer games this year!

Magpie said...

How about curling?!?

I'm a late bloomer, I'm still planning to conquer the world.

LoriD said...

I still think I have a shot at curling or sailing. Hell, my dad has a shot at curling!

That's cool about your nephew. I played football with an Olympic gold medal swimmer, and by brother's university roommate went as a long-distance runner, but that's as close as I have come.

Kimmylyn said...

I don't do sequins either..
And congrats about your nephew that is great!!

I am trying to get a metal for just walking..I train about ten hours a day that event and I still have not perfected it!

shay said...

hey are you coming? To the olympics I mean. Come see me if you do;-)

I don't think we ever stop dreaming, or I don't. I mean I guess it's too late for some things, or we just realistically aren't all built to be athletes but there are so many things out there for us. I personally, can't wait!

mamafabulosity said...

You can do anything you wanna do. I still plan on being a ballerina. Maybe in my thirtys. Or maybe I'll just live vicariously through my daughter. Yeah, that sounds good.

Christine said...

I LOVE this post! somedays I share the same unshakable optimism. the same sense that I am really JUST getting started

And then other days (ahe, today?) I feel like it's all over and I screwed it all up and the best I can hope for is my daughter's life works ok.

it take a wonderful post like this to jostle me back to the land of opportunity. I love it. I vote archery, riflet or maybe cross country skiing? If you could vote I would vote for you

thanks for the wonderful comment on CFT. glad it led me back to this post just when I needed it this morning

slouching mom said...

This made me giggle. Your attitude will ensure you a long, happy, and healthy life. Denial beats depression any day, I say.

I was a competitive gymnast whose dream to be in the Olympics started with being glued to the TV in 1976, watching Nadia Comaneci perform.

It just wasn't meant to be, much as I wanted it, and worked for it.

Tara R. said...

Yeah, I'm holding out for the Senior Olympics.

Victoria said...

Love it! There are many ambitions I've yet to give up (despite all evidence to the contrary). And I look wicked good in sequins.

Yay! to your nephew!

=)

Karen MEG said...

Great post! You are funny...I have always love the Olympics too, but I've never been a great athlete. I used to be a big figure skating fan (to watch, even though I did the lessons as a kid); and love watching the swimming, esp. the men's (er, no explanation needed, right?).
Ping pong is actually a pretty intense sport, and exciting to watch. My parents, huge cruising people, still rock the ping pong. Every time there's a tourney on the boat, they beat the pants of the young ones. Yeah, they're 70 ... so there's hope LOL!
That's an amazing accomplishment for your cousin BTW. You must be so proud.

Kathryn said...

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog, because it allowed me to discover you! I just love your writing. I'm gonna have to bookmark you now. :)
I always thought I would win the Gold in Ice Skating. ~sigh~
Ah well.

Corey~living and loving said...

OH how glad I am to have found your blog. You make my day! You are so funny....and FUN! yes those are two different things. :P

thanks for the smiles. Have a great weekend!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

K, now I am laughing... The whole time I am reading this I am thinking, well what about archery? That is still my Olympic hope.. didn's some female movie star become a world class archer a few years back?
anyhoo...
I say hold onto your dreams. I too hold delusions of grandeur, the world will be my oyster. some day...

Love your writing girl, you are a terrific wordsmith. What I would give for your talent and more than 2 minutes to bang out a post....
Thanks for stopping by today friend.

bubandpie said...

Hehe. I always thought biathlon would be a good choice for the mature athlete. (Except then I found out you have to have exceptional levels of fitness for it, so I gave up on that idea.)

Someone Being Me said...

I never cared much for the Olympics but I did get sad the other night when I realized next year would be the last year I could audition for American Idol. Not that I would because I can't sing. But the fact that I have aged out of something is depressing all the same.

Heather said...

Oh I have so many delusions of celebrity or other greatness left over from childhood dreams. Maybe one of them will come true someday.

I was going to suggest archery, but I see you've thought of that as well. Good luck with your dreams...we're only old when we stop dreaming.

Melody said...

I prefer that people don't remind me that I lack the skill or whatever that I truly need to accomplish my dreams - no matter how silly.

Very soon, I will become a jewelry-making, crocheting, cake-decorating fool (Despite lacking the knowledge (easy to fix), money (not so easy to fix), or time (oh forget it) to start a new hobby.

You came by to visit my blog, so I'm returning the favor. Thanks for the comment (I'm such a comment junkie)

Thanks again,
Melody

Tracey said...

A. I totally think you have a chance at archery. I mean, how hard is it to shoot a little arrow a few feet, right?

2. Good luck to your nephew! How awesome would that be?? :)

and C. Thanks for popping by!

(Please note that I am not a lunatic. I just like making obscure movie references... A,2,C... never mind...)

:)

Val Cox said...

You're great, I love the 'can-do' attitude, when all things are possible, no matter our age!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I'm still working on my gymnastics floor routine. So, yeah. I get you!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Mrs. Chicky said...

I'm still working on my Oscar acceptance speech and i can't act my way out of a wet paper bag. A woman can dream.

ewe are here said...

hahahahaha

As I started to read this entry, I started thinking 'Archery, I should suggest archery!'

And then I got to the end of the post and laughed.

Nap Warden said...

You go for it girl...If Geena Davis can do it, so can Don Mills Diva!

Oh, The Joys said...

You get a bullseye and I'll get a medal in butterfly!

Tot's Mom said...

It doesn't hurt to dream and have a little ambition, right? So, go for the gold then!!

Lizzy in the Burbs said...

Hi, there!

Loved your post! I am a believer that anything is possible if you want it badly enough,..so go get that gold medal! (archery? maybe. how about the luge? (sp?) All you have to do is flatten yourself like a pancake and pretend you're a torpedo! :)

Good luck to your nephew, though, that's awesome!

Lizzy

Kyla said...

This was so cute. I love your lofty goals.

kittenpie said...

Ha - I totally get this, but for me, it's not the Olympics - you'll be shocked to hear I never was sporty in the least, what with the total lack of depth perception and all. For me, it's the Oscar speech that I think I have down pat now, or perhaps the Grammy and the performance afterwards. It's good to daydream, right? Healthy, even? Right?

tommie said...

though I was a gymnast well into my late teens.....I always had my eyes set on Miss America (or Mick America) as I called it. I would stack milk cartons in the pyramid shape and stand at the top accepting my roses (a bundle of spoons and things from my mom's crock that sat on the oven). Oh yeah, start singing now...."Here she comes, Mick America...."

Haley-O said...

Such an inspiring post! The world is our oyster -- love that expression. Must remember it on my down days!

So cool about your nephew! I hope you get to spectate! :)

Damselfly said...

OK, how about you and me start training for Olympic badminton? We can't be too old for badminton!



Er... can we?

Jen said...

We love the olympics at our house too, and we always watch. I think I'm still delusional, because figure skating and gymnastics are still possible for me. :)

Mr Lady said...

You can stay with me for the Olympics! Or you could get a $6,000 /night hotel room. Either way....:)

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Just linked through from your last post and I LOVE this!! I, too, have always dreamed of Olympic glory but I am not at all athletic. And so, feeling that anything is possible, I started running and blogging (me, a business major who has avoided writing anything all my life) in my late 30's.

I also have a theory that anyone could win an Olympic medal if they had the time and money and someone who could tell you what sport you were suited for.

And my real dream? Seriously? As silly as it might sound, I am determined to be on Oprah someday talking about something important.

Don't tell me it won't happen.