James and I have become Olympic junkies! I think for me it's part of my athlete past - I know and love that feeling of sport, the high of competition, the grueling training of your body. Although I don't compete anymore, I still love to participate in any way I can.
Plus, the only channel we really get on our television is showing non-stop Olympic coverage over these two weeks. So there isn't any other choice. But I really am enjoying catching all these sports. The best part, I think, is how all the coverage makes the average viewer feel like an expert in all these sports. Seriously - James and I now watch snowboard cross and short track speed skating and skating and ski jumping and make comments like:
"I knew he was going to miss that jump - his approach was way too fast!"
"She started out too strong - she won't have enough endurance to finish it out."
"Just take it easy and then pass on the next jump."
"Come on - you've won all the races on the circuit so far this year - you can win this one!"
From having been in sports competitions in the past, I also really feel the successes and the failures. When I played high school field hockey, we would trounce every school in our area during the season, and then lose the final to the same team to go to the provincial championships 1-0. Every year I played we lost to that same school. It was heartbreaking. I remember going back to watch the final when I was in my first year university, and found tears in my eyes when our school lost again. Every athlete knows the elation of a win and the heartbreak of a loss. And I sympathize with all these Olympians as they go through their ups and their downs. I'm not sure it's good for my heart to get going so fast that late at night - it doesn't help with sleeping!
Nevertheless, I will be sad when these games end. I enjoy the winter Olympics so much more than summer - perhaps because these sports are so much faster because of the skates and skis. Speed makes things that much more exciting. But there are always another set of athletes and another Olympics. Sure, it may be another 20 years before it's in Canada again (maybe Quebec?), but at least every four years we are guaranteed another chance to cheer on our country and our competitors.
One last note about Canada - I can't believe how our country has united together in these games. I have my own pair of red Olympic mittens, and there's a little swell of pride from within whenever I see someone else sporting a pair. It's like a little bond between strangers in a common land. I think one day I'd like to volunteer in an Olympic Games, just to be up close and part of the action. My Dad's family live in the Greater Vancouver area, and have said it's been a wonderful experience to be a part of.
We Canadians have an international reputation for being the nice guys - but I think we've shown we have a fantastic spirit also.