Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I've been watching the Olympics in Canada. Watching the curling events to be a bit more precise. I felt like I needed to sit down and type a while and let my nerves unwind from the excitement. I've never understood why I am not a big fan of these Winter Games but I suspect that it has partly to do with the fact that I'm from Nebraska - where the greatest winter opportunities are to brag about how far south you went on your winter vacation or how you survived that fall on the ice last week. But it hasn't fazed your thinking a bit. You still want to live here.
And you're here partly because of your strong will and belief system. The basic tenet that life shouldn't be too easy. Remember, this is building character. Surviving here will put hair on your chest.
The Winter Games are a combination of grace, strength, beautiful lifts and moves, and the hope that gravity will somehow take over so they can get those skis back on the snow and make that next turn going 70 miles per hour. Just like living in Kansas and Nebraska in the winter, success in the Olympics is sometimes measured in mere survival. Just try to be the only one who didn't land in a twisted pile of humanity and you'll be the winner.
Opportunities to improve our character have come in many forms this winter. We've had several power outages. Mostly they were brief, but one lasted into the next day. Not bad by most accounts and ice storms standards. We've had copious amounts of snow fall and freezing rain. The locals have pushed it, scooped it, thrown sand on it, spread salt on it and even blown it up into the wind by mechanical means just to give the neighbors more character building opportunities. The season has elevated our snowplow operators and electric company lineman to legendary status. It has closed schools and postponed a great number of games, concerts and social events.
We live where hope springs eternal in the hearts of all Midwesterners. We know that if we persevere, that if we can somehow just "wear this winter out," spring is right around the corner with its warmer temperatures, muddy roads and flooding. The adversity will be there but we won't need to wear so darned many clothes while we face it. By then we'll be thinking about planting, raising crops and killing weeds and we'll have the comfort of knowing that last winter was about as bad as it could have been and next winter will be better. At least we can hope.
But through it all, we must survive. We find entertainment where we can. It might consist of a diversion at the local schools with their games and concerts, or going out to eat on occasion if we think we can get home before the wind blows the road closed again or we stay home, invite the neighbors over and watch television. That's when we realize that even though the satellite serves up 200 or 300 channels, there's really nothing to watch. Two nights ago I narrowed the choices down to the Winter Olympics or an infomercial called "Get the Body You Deserve." Since I already had the latter… I watched the games.
Wow! How does sweeping make that curling stone move like that and should I start carrying a broom in the truck for my wife to use when we're trying to stop on ice?
It really has been a long winter.