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Olympics prompt memories of dreams - Sequoyah County Times: Columnist Sally Maxwell

Olympics prompt memories of dreams

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Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 12:13 pm

Olympics obsessed — that’s me.

Every two years now, I’m glued to the TV screen. I don’t want to miss one gymnast’s flip, one swimming arm stroke, one volleyball spike, or any other athletic feat.

I have often wondered why I, and millions of others I’m sure, fear getting out of view of our TV screens while the Olympics are being broadcast. At this time of the two-year cycle I blame myself for not getting satellite TV so I could watch all the channels the Olympics are broadcast on, or so they say.

All I can deduce is that we are all little Walter Mittys. That means we are thinking, “I wish I could do that.”

And as I stare, mesmerized, at the TV screen every event prompts memories.

For instance, the gymnasts ware amazing. I love watching gymnastics. How do they do that?  How do they make their bodies soar into the air, then twist and turn until I think they should look like pretzels? I particularly like the uneven bars for the girls. Talk about flying like a bird! Wow! I wish I could do that.

Then memories bubble up. Actually, at a very early age and before I even knew there was a sport like gymnastics, I spent a lot of time hanging upside down on any high bar I could find. I absolutely loved hanging around upside down on monkey bars. I remember how much I loved defying gravity, and the human need to be upright. Maybe I was a rebel even then. Hanging upside down on a friend’s swing set developed that set-me-free feeling.

Unfortunately, I grew. It must be known that most gymnasts, male or female, are 5-feet, 7-inches tall or shorter. I’ve got four inches on all those gymnasts. Don’t think there was any hope of becoming a gymnast with my 5-feet, 10-inch frame. Probably any gymnast nearing 6-feet tall scrapes their toes on the ground as they loop around on the high bar. I know I would have lost my toes if I’d been a gymnast. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Then there’s the swimming and diving. I’ve done that. Mom taught me to swim early on, and I never asked her how she knew how to swim. I should have.

So when I went off to college at Indiana University, I signed up for swimming 101. I did that because I knew I was going to need an easy A.

And I got it. With some pride and thanks to Mom, the swimming instructor even had me demonstrate to my fellow students my “perfect freestyle stroke.” Unfortunately, my legs didn’t keep up. My kick didn’t kick in, and so I had to give up swimming.

Volleyball? I love volleyball. Volleyball should love me cause I’m tall.  But just a few years ago (well, it seems like a few years but maybe it is closer to 20) adult ed offered volleyball at Sallisaw’s middle school.

Fellow volleyball players were glad to see me, at first. Again, at 5 feet, 10 inches, I looked like I could play volleyball. And I could. I just couldn’t jump. I’m unable to get this 5-foot, 10-inch-tall frame off the floor more that two inches. I was a big disappointment to my volleyball team, so I gave it up.

Olympics Observation:  Gals! Want to look good? Take up volleyball. Those ladies are long and lean and have muscles in the right places. Guys? That long, lean, muscled look is best demonstrated by the guy swimmers. Uh-huh!

So, we live our-might-have-been dreams through the Olympics. But I still have one dream — that of my favorite event — the equestrian cross country and show jumping competitions. I have actually been there. I have actually done that. And never mind that I went over a lot more jumps than my horse of the time did. Perhaps, like me, my horses couldn’t jump either. But they sure knew how to come to a screeching halt and fling me over the jump all by myself.

As we watch all our athletes doing marvelous things, I believe there is still a little glimmer in our minds that maybe we could nave done that too, but life got in the way. And I continue to remember those dreams courtesy of our amazing athletes.


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