Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why I Love Jennifer Nettles.

I'm resposting this from This girl is funny.

Blog from Jennifer, “Nothing Left to Luge”
February 25, 2010

Ah, yes, Olympic season. I absolutely love it. The Olympics bring out the athlete, the drama and the American in all of us. (Except when they showed the story of Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, the off-ice couple from China. All it takes is a little romantic ditty about two underdogs in their 30’s (which apparently is one triple lutz away from mummification in Olympic years) and I am ordering General Tsao’s Tofu and longing for cheap, plastic toys. But, I digress….). Sap stories notwithstanding, for the most part, I am a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

So, it’s not surprising that I found myself snuggled down on the couch, with a bag of kettle corn, watching these crazy thrill seekers put years and years of training on the line in one, frozen-tundra, nail-biting moment. As I was watching all the moguls skiing, the short course speed skating, the luge rocketing, and the figure skating, I’m watching and thinking two things:

1. I think they should put a snow mountain with bumps in it, in the new Harry Potter Theme Park and host “muggle’s skiing”. Get it? Muggle’s/Moguls? But I digress….and

2. What the heck is wrong with these crazy people?!?!!!! This stuff is nuts!!!

I mean, let’s talk moguls: 827 feet of incline, going really fast in the freezing, cold, gusting, wind on skis, banging your knees over and over before you’re supposed to compose yourself long enough to launch yourself off a ramp into some sort of flip or helicopter twist. Excuse me? If you put me on top of that hill and told me a pride of hungry lions were coming to eat me, or I could choose to make my way to the bottom, which would be filled with dark chocolate, you would still have to seriously shove my ass off there in order to get me to leave the platform. And let’s not even touch on the pressure of the situation in general. For example, if you screw up and fling yourself into oblivion on skis, on your one chance, oh well, there’s always FOUR YEARS from now!!!!!

And, does it seem to anyone else that the Winter Olympics are way more extreme and dangerous than the Summer Olympics? What is that all about? As someone who didn’t grow up to appreciate the cold nor the snow, I have my theories.

I think being cooped up in the cold for months and months at the time, makes people reckless and crazy. As in, “I’ve got to get outside and do something no matter what it is and no matter how much it sucks and, while I’m at it, I have so much pent up energy, I’m gonna get on some blades and go down a hill a bagillion miles an hour. The more adrenaline and the more dangerous, the better, because hey, anything is better than one more second stuck inside and I’ve got nothing left to luge!” (Yes, I went there). This theory could very well be true.
Blades and skis aside, cold, in and of itself, is dangerous. Consequently, I think just living in the cold weather makes you more of a daredevil because just walking outside is an extreme sport.

More specifically I would say it like this: where I grew up, it was hot. Now sure, there’s a possibility of dying from the heat. Say, maybe it’s the dead of August and you haven’t had anything to drink all day and you decide that running up and down the stadium steps at noon is the right thing to do.* But that takes a mistake of not drinking anything AND an effort to run AND a conscious decision to do so at noon. Not the same with cold. Cold, for example, you might just be headed out to the store at night because you forgot the milk on any given Wednesday and your car breaks down and you die because you freeze. My point being, it takes a significant effort to die in the heat. It takes a significant effort to not die in the cold. (Note: This does not apply to places of extreme heat like the Sahara Desert. But, luckily, we do not live there, and neither does anyone else in the Olympics, because it’s too hot and you can’t train because you will die. *See “significant effort” bit above.)

Really though, as I watch I am moved. Moved, because these people clearly love what they do and witnessing that is inspiring. Moved because they are not winning just for themselves. They are winning so that the whole country and all those they love, can share in that win and say, “WE are the best!”, and the athletes can know it was because of something they did. Moved, because their life long dedication and preparation for one shot at glory reminds me of our own precious, beautiful lives. Like the Winter Olympians, all we really want is to dedicate ourselves to life completely, giving it our best shot no matter how it ends, and hope that when it’s all said and done, those we love will think they are the best, because of something we did. Live it wide open.

- Jennifer Nettles

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