Is it me, or is this winter the one that will go down in history for being the one where every geographical area did their best to win the Cold Olympics? It’s like we’re all in competition to see whose weather is the most atrocious. This morning it was minus 35 with windchill, which is pretty brisk. It’s worth noting that Calgary schools basically never close due to weather. I cannot recall one instance of schools closing here, because a) we’re used to hideously cold weather, b) we don’t get massive three-feet-of-snow-storms or ice storms that actually threaten power or heat, and c) if our schools closed due to cold weather they would be closed for weeks at a time, welcome to winter on the prairies. As it is our schools make indoor recess their concession to the cold.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not sympathetic to the plight of pretty much everyone else on the continent, what with seemingly endless snow days and abnormally low temperatures and massive snowstorms. A friend recently made snarky remarks about Southerners complaining of the cold, which I felt was uncalled for. If the temperature climbs above 24 degrees here, people start complaining about the heat, which I’m pretty sure would make any Southerner politely blink in confusion. Personally complaints about the “heat” make me feel like stabbing the complainee, and then I have to do deep breathing and OM SHANTI for a while just to settle down.
People, stop trying to win the Cold Olympics. Everywhere is cold. It’s winter. Even if it’s a relative cold, it’s STILL COLD.
Speaking of the Olympics, is it me or does the Russian Olympic Committee seem like that kid we all knew who waited until the night before the assignment was due to start working on it, all the while knowing that the assignment was worth 75% of the mark for the entire term? It makes me think of that SNL skit from a few weeks ago, where the character asked what the other venue choices were, Haiti or the middle of the ocean? Middle of the ocean actually sounds kind of cool in a Waterworld kind of way.
Ah, the Olympics. The precious time that my husband and I get into weird standoffs. He’s all about the athletes, and the determination, and the hard work that goes into training for what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent your country and put pride into your fellow citizens’ hearts and tears of joy to their eyes. He is all about embodying the Olympic spirit and feelings of international cooperation through sport. I, on the other hand, have never gotten over the Sale and Pelletier gold medal debacle of 2002 and have not watched an event in its entirety ever since. I remember it like it was yesterday: watching in a hotel bar in Houston with American co-workers, surrounded by Texan men who, upon discovering my heritage, came over to offer sympathies and opinions, like it was I myself who was on the ice, gracefully skating to Love Story. I’ve had a soft spot for Texans in general and Houston in particular ever since.
Several years later I found myself at a Gold Medal Plates fundraiser with David Pelletier himself, and I will say this: there are probably more entertaining athletes to have dinner with. Not that I don’t feel empathy for the man; it must be very weird to be sitting at a table of people you don’t know, and having to make small talk when it’s pretty clear you have zero in common, and yet you are expected to be bright and charming and entertaining for the table full of athletic benefactors. A metaphorical soft-shoe, if you will.
And yet, the guy basically texted Jamie Sale about the babysitter all night long, which in light of what happened next in the Sale/ Pelletier story, is pretty sad. Also, I was really jealous of the table who kept bursting into loud and raucous laughter at the apparently hilarious stories one of the Olympic skiers was regaling them with, while David Pelletier sat in glum silence. Long story short: I am not particularly excited about the Olympics, and for more reasons than just the figure skating. And yet, I will cheer Team Canada along side the guys in my house who ARE excited.
This morning I saw a rainbow, an actual rainbow in the sky. I would have taken a photo of it were my fingers not frozen stiff despite my gloves AND mittens. A rainbow, in February, in minus 35-with-windchill. A small miracle, I would say.
But yet it represents something even bigger: a dream. I say this to all of you – Olympic athletes included - as one who knows: dreams can come true, and the impossible can become possible, if only you work hard enough and believe in yourself. Yesterday, I accomplished something that I have always felt was out of reach, that was not possible, that could not be done. And yet. And yet I did it. Yesterday, I went to Costco with a list of 14 items, and I returned home with those same 14 items, and only $112 poorer. My husband did not believe me at first, but I saved the receipt and will possibly frame it, artwork entitled “BELIEVE”. This morning I saw the rainbow in the frozen morning sky, and I thought it was there for me. Reach for the stars, people, and you just might pluck one.