Many of us have our childhood dreams. My husband Don was going to play second base for the New York Yankees, my brother had dreams of making it big in a rock and roll band (and now a successful psychologist, still plays Chicago clubs frequently with whatever group of guys he can pull together) and I had two dreams – either being the first Jewish/female President (hmmmm, I guess I could still be a first in either of those two categories!) or skiing the slalom in a Winter Olympics.
Growing up in Wisconsin meant that one of your after-school activities could be the ski team. Having started downhill skiing when I was 8 – with hand me down EVERYTHING – I learned early how to master the Wisconsin rope tows and t-bars and often found racing downhill to be far easier than heading back uphill and the 30 minute drive to Little Switzerland became a high school routine for evening race events with a group of friends. While I never spent the time and effort needed to be serious at the sport, I at least found an activity that I was able to share with my husband, then boyfriend (who had to live with the decree that he would learn to ski or that I would go on ski vacations without him, annually) and then for both of us to pass to our children. Having just made the venture out to Utah last month with our family, I hope the love of the sport is the gift that keeps on giving. Of course, having them going down the slopes on their own is way easier than it was trying to have them do “French fries and pizza pies (when in doubt with little ones, always have them picture where their skiis should go with food images!) between my legs…now that was a workout.
As a huge fan of the Olympics, it has really struck me that I must be finally maturing because as I now watch the games, I find myself having more empathy with the parents waiting at the end of the runs with their handmade signs and cowbells then I do with those on the slopes. Maybe it’s because my knees actually hurt just watching these spectacular athletes hit the slopes.