February 12, 2014

Winter and the Olympics and Old Age

I will never be one of those 'southern belles' who complains about the 'cold' temps of anything below 50 degrees and  cannot function in a world without air conditioning.  Ok, I  admit I used to be one of those cuties.  When the man and I first got married and moved to Santa Maria, California for his initial Air Force training, we moved into an apartment that didn't have AC.  It freaked me out. Then I learned that no one in that part of CA had air conditioning.  As a Texas girl, I couldn't fathom living in a land where temps never rose above say...85.  Blew. my. mind.  Remember, this girl was comfortable with 115 degree summers (comfortable, that is, as long as the AC worked).  Fast forward 24 years with 22 of them shoveling snow, and you have the new me who has adapted and anticipates a frozen winter.

I like the cold and snowy weather, and I've blogged often that I miss it.  Louisiana has actually had a winter this year.  (Translated:  I have enjoyed wearing my boots A LOT in cold temperatures as it rains. ).   And, this family is totally into watching the Olympics. I am proud to parent 3 skiers and a snowboarder so we are all enthralled with winter sporting talent in Sochi.  Interestingly, I decided the last time we skied that I think I may be done with powering down frozen mountains because the Austrian Alps were not kind to me.  My age is leaving me a scaredy-cat about such evil things as speed, and a mountain with a steep grade decline of more than say 5 percent. I am officially elderly according to the sports casters giving the play-by-plays on NBC.  Ancient.  But, I do enjoy watching the youngsters hurl themselves in every direction above all varieties of frozen tundra and water.

American snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington won gold a few days ago with the women's half pipe, and another American Jamie Anderson took home the gold in the slope style. (For those that may not be privy to the world of snowboarding, the 'half-pipe' is called so because the event resembles a giant pipe cut in half longways, much like a giant celery stick.)  They make it look so easy. My boy snowboards.  He also makes it look easy.  The man has tried it a few times, most recently a few years ago in Austria, and can I just say that Advil and slow moving muscles made their appearance, in force,  in the days following.  Tonight seems to be all about Shaun White and the men's half pipe, and my teen girlies appear to be swooning.  Or maybe they are in love with his hair, which is now coiffed to perfection in a new short 'do'.  (Remember he's been known until now by his long, curly, red locks, a sassy style that always seemed to have a life of its own.)  His teammate Danny Davis' smile is pretty infectious too.  Poor Shaun had some difficulties and just couldn't hang on to the gold for the third time.  I'm sure it's his old age.  I think he is 27. Or, perhaps we have a modern-day Samson.

And, can we just talk about speed skaters?  Just watching this 'bent-over' sport makes my body hurt, with my back and legs silently pleading a for promise never to attempt such things.  My knees did the same thing after watching the downhill mogul event with jumps, and I realized how age makes my body talk back at just viewing such extreme treatment.  I'm really old.  Then the other night, the figure skating commentators spewed endlessly about Russian skater Viktor Plushenko's old age.  He's 31, people!!!!  He's had multiple surgeries including a spinal implant making it extremely dangerous for him to even be out on the ice, much less doing quad jumps.  Bravery or lunacy, not sure which this speaks of.

 As I mentioned earlier, I, for one learned my age lesson with regard to winter sports a few years back.   While the rest of the family skied and boarded, the youngest and I bought lift tickets solely to ascend to the top and snap amazing photos, and then to descend the mountain the same way.  So,  in case you are enjoying the Olympics as you sit in your living room by the fire, and you find yourself owning an advanced age of, say, 27,  then, according to NBC you are old and past your prime.  You need to just give it up and do your skiing surfing online for your walker.

(If you might enjoy reading a 'behind the scenes' look at a pro photog, check out Jeff Cable's blog.  An awesome photographer and official Olympic shooter, he's been blogging about the various venues, including some technical aspects,  as well as general life in and around the games in Sochi.)

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