Remember when you got to that age where all the professionals you’d see (doctors, lawyers, dentists) were now suddenly younger than you? And you’re fully aware the ornamentally framed certificate on the wall proves they completed their education, but you’re not entirely certain it wasn’t done in crayon?
It’s this strand of ageist bitterness — perhaps jealousy of the blinding bright future for the generational litter behind you — that forces you to succumb to the jaded bitterness of a life already lived. I’m starting to feel the same way about the Olympics. Experiencing a form of athletic jealousy with an inner banter akin to Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show.
It took me about 30 seconds on the Emera Oval to decide that skating is not for me. I’m fairly certain as a child I was indeed Tonya Harding . . . minus the, well you know, blonde hair.
But regardless of my inability, it did a lot to further my respect for these Olympic figure skaters. Sure, they make the most horrendous of contorted faces and their costumes would even make Liberace step back and say tone it down. But to make some of these jumps, skills and elements look as effortless as they do is simply magical to me. Except the twizzle (twizzle: a figure skating move in which, in unison, the skaters twist and turn down the ice as if they were experiencing the worst form of synchronized vertigo.)
Our Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir grabbed gold in ice dance. All jokes aside, it was a beautiful program — a great way to possibly end a 21-year career.
Next: Cassie Sharpe. This young, incredible athlete managed to see her dreams come true. But all this well-earned and amazingly uplifting gold medal achievement on the women’s ski halfpipe accomplished was less to warm the cockles of my Canadian heart and more to just remind me of my own failures on the slopes.
I remember taking to a Quebec-area ski hill with a mass of snowboarding newbies one season. Even in his broken English I could tell that the instructor knew there wasn’t a boarding protégé among us. The hour-or-so-long lesson seemed like a weekend intensive course for which I clearly did not read the fine print. Suffice it to say, I figured out a snowboard is much more fun as a sled.
The third and final nail in my coffin of self-reflection comes with the biathlon. My confusion has now mixed with fatigue and winter seasonal affective disorder to highlight that this is merely another sport for which I will never become an Olympian. The mixed relay sees the teamwork and combined efforts of our Canadians cross-country skiing capabilities and shooting accuracy. Limited time spent at a shooting range or two taught me that I look really good standing next to guns, I make an amazing reloading assistant, but the only deer I’d ever hit is the one that’s already been loaded onto the back of the truck.
Only five days to go in the parade of unlimited potential. My only hope now is that the closing ceremonies don’t have a marry a nice Jewish doctor event, judged by my grandmother. I can’t take the possible disappointment and humiliation of finishing off the podium.