Like any red-blooded American, I love watching the Olympics. When I was younger, my sports were figure skating and bobsled. I had an undying love for the glittery costumes and perfect hair of the figure skaters, and I always rooted for the Jamaican bobsledders (duh). As I’ve gotten older and realized that I have neither the talent nor the passion to actually be in the Olympics, my interest has gone from dreams of gold medals to something more akin to jealousy. I forget about the Olympics until they are about to take place, and then my life is consumed by envy of all the athletes competing. Every time I tune in to Sochi, I think, “What have I done with my life that in 25 years, I have not once competed in the most prestigious world athletic event ever invented?” And then I remember what I have working against me, namely: indifference, paralyzing fear of head injury, incoordination, and the inability to get back on the horse, so to speak.
Today, it was the latter two that reminded me of my failure. After a day of rain and overnight temperatures that dipped into the teens, everything was covered in a thick sheet of ice. Undeterred, Murray and I bravely ventured out for our morning run. (We were not actually undeterred. We had mainly just forgotten about the ice situation.) But by the time we made it to the Arboretum, the ice seemed textured enough to make for a good run. Halfway through, we passed an older gentleman using a cane, gliding down the path in his orthopedic shoes. I immediately grimaced and remembered all the old people I had treated at the rehab center who had obtained severe head injuries just by tripping over a flowerpot or something. “Watch yourself,” he said to me with a small wave. “The whole place is an ice rink!”
“Ha ha ha,” I thought, “you’re the one who needs to watch it, ol’ fella!” Two minutes later, Murray and I rounded a bend, I overstepped, and down we went. You know how Olympians who fall immediately pop right back up and flawlessly finish their routine? Imagine the opposite of that and you will have an idea of what I did. I whimpered and hobbled around and tried really hard not to cry, but then I did cry, and I kept crying as I limped down the path for a good 5 minutes before running again. And then when I got home, I looked at the mirror in horror when I saw blood – blood! – on my leg, and mourned the fact that it had gotten all over my freshly-laundered running tights. And then I got in the shower and danced around when the water hit my leg, and then I got out of the shower and pouted when I saw the big goose-egg that was forming. And then I thought about it all day as I crawled around on the floor with my kids because you guys, crawling hurts and walking hurts and sitting down hurts and this is just the worst sports injury ever! I don’t know when I’ll be able to run again, but I’m crossing my fingers for a quick recovery. In the meantime, you can find me drinking wine and watching Olympians slip and fall and smash into various things and just keep on going.