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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Olympic Dreams

When I was growing up, I dreamed of competing in the Olympics. Never mind that I possessed absolutely no athletic ability nor did I manage to perform even the simplest of physical endeavors without earning a gold medal in whining and complaining. None of that mattered. I still wanted to be Mary Lou Retton or Dorothy Hamill.

I mean, didn't everyone?

My lack of athletic ability showed itself at the tender age of four, when my family watched everyone else race towards a finish line while I stood staring into space at the starting line. To be fair, the line judge shouted "on your mark, get set, go" in Japanese, which I didn't yet speak, but you'd think I'd have clued in when everyone around me took off. My momma had to call out from the stands before I took notice and trotted after the crowd.

I still held out hope for an Olympic gold. Look at my little four-year-old self. Can't you just see the delusion on my face? Of course, my momma took that photo BEFORE the start of the race.

Yet even after that embarrassing debut, I still KNEW I could make it to the Olympics... I just had to find my sport.

I practiced for hours, y'all, not in well-equipped gymnasiums nor Olympic-sized aquatic centers. No... my Olympic dreams delusions grew amid friends' backyards and the neighborhood swimming pool. We performed "floor exercises" and spent hours perfecting our synchronized swimming "routines." We used the backyard swing set as our uneven bars, never mind that it had only one bar and extraneous metal hanging around.

What's so incredibly sad is that we forced our parents to watch these things.

Again. And again. And again.

From left to right: me... my childhood friend HAD... HAD's
little sister GottaHave... and my childhood best friend Otter

Our parents totally loved us, y'all.

What is so incredibly SURPRISING is that our Olympic dreams delusions paid off, although not for me. And not for HAD. Nor for GottaHave. Nor even for Otter.

Well... sort of for Otter.

Last month, Otter's daughter Mink (my beautiful and talented goddaughter) traveled to the USATF Region III Junior Olympics, easily placing within the top ten in her age group for the pole vault.

The pole vault, y'all!!!

Maybe that was our problem... perhaps Otter and I needed to check out the track instead of focusing our delusions on gymnastics and synchronized swimming. So... what outfit did you picture yourself wearing on the front of the Wheaties box?

For other walks down memory lane, check out the Sincerely Fro Me To You stories at We Are That Family.


The Apron Queen said...

That swing set shot is VERY fun! Definitely keep it around! :) And congrats to your god daughter.

Confessions of an Apron Queen

Auds at Barking Mad said...

Congrats to your God-Daughter! That's awesome.

FOund you through SFMTY and am really enjoying your blog. Your little one is quite precious and I've loved reading all about you and your hubby bringing her home, to her "forever home."

Looking forward to coming back.

jennifer said...

How cool! I hope that my girls go on to do things that I dreamed of too!

Great post!


Janet said...

My kids do that to me ALL the time! "MOm! Look at me!" A small, very poorly performed cartwheel. "Great job, honey!" "Mom! Watch me do it again!" Of course. Because what I WANT to do all day is watch you flop around on the grass. :-)

As for the Olympic event? Synchronized swimming. My sis and I would practice at the lake. I think people thought there was something wrong with us.

Anonymous said...

Not only did I want to be in the Olympics (I, too, have no athletic ability) . . . but I knew if I won the gold, I'd for sure get to be on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Again, no real ability could land me on the show, but I wanted to be on it so badly. When he retired a little part of me died knowing I'd never be on the show with him . . . . .

Rochelle said...

Love your pictures!!! And I too, had those dreams. Oh well. I'll have to settle to buying a plastic cup with the Olymipc Sympbol on it and cheering from the comfort of my own couch! LOL!!

Anonymous said...

Oh I totally wanted to be Mary Lou Retton. You are right - who didn't??

We are THAT Family said...

Awesome post! And who am I kidding?

I STILL have Olympic dreams.

Love those pictures!

Carol said...

Great post!

I had a red,white and blue swimsuit that had fake gold medals printed on the fabric at the neckline. I LOVED that suit. Now I'm gonna have to go hunt down the picture of it for the next 'Fro event.

Saint Louis Family Robinson said...

Are you kidding? Of course I wanted to BE Mary Lou Retton... almost as much as I wanted to be Laura Ingalls. There were thoughts of Time Travel, uniting the two... what a fantasy world... on some many different levels.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Oh yeah....I so wanted to be Mary Lou Retton...I had the leotard and everything!!!

It is always great to dream big....even now I get excited when it is time for the Olympics!!

Great post...lovin the picture of you all on the swing set....brings back some great childhood memories!


Valarie said...

Wow thats awesome!!! I don't think I had Olympic dreams, but I did have a Dorothy Hamill hair do. Does that count??

D... said...

Ah, yes, Olympic dreams. I too had them and I too have ZERO athletic ability. Zero.

Congrats to your Goddaughter!! That is truly something special.

My Sincerely 'Fro Me to You is up too.

D... said...

P.S. I wish you patience while waiting for you second child. I think ya'll are doing an amazing thing. Your daughter is blessed, for sure.

Mamatini said...

Heck yeah! I was more of the Nadia Comaneci era, but I did cartwheels and handstands in the grass, down the street, down the hallway, in the mall (yes, the mall!) My mom swears I was upside down most of the time.

Sadly, my true potential was never reached because my parents Would Not pay for the suddenly wildly popular gymnastics lessons. (Darn them!) Nor would they pay for ice-skating lessons (also suddenly popular due to Dorothy Hamill - the '76 Olympics heavily influenced my youth!), so there went that possibility. They did let me get the haircut at least.

By the time I found an acceptable event (Go Track & Field!), I was sadly much too old to begin Olympic training. So my 14-year-old self had to be satisfied with high-school competition.


On an interesting note, Isa seems to be following in my footsteps (or should I say, handstands!)

Michelle said...

Oh man! For me it was Gymnastics. Too bad that to this day I cannot even do a cartwheel :)

In my teen years I wanted to compete in the Olympics on the equestrian team. At that time I was riding horses and competing, and even placed 6th at the Nationals. Then I found out they only had Olympic events for English riding, and not Western, the style of riding I excelled at. Bummer.

Jerralea said...

Great post! I never wanted to be in the Olympics (I had no delusions of grandeur regarding my athletic ability) but I love to watch them! I'm looking forward to seeing them this week.

I remember my kids always wanting us to watch them perform on the swing set. I still have one that is always saying "watch me, Mom" but it's about showing off her dance moves.

CC said...

That's super cool! I was going to be an Olympian too.... Unfortunately, I'm not athletic!

Muthering Heights said...

Oh, I LOVE that photo!

No Olympic dreams here, but I would SO cheer for you! :)

HDMac said...

very cute and congratulations on tte granddaughter's abilities!!

Georgia Peach said...

Yes, my event was the broad jump!

Of course it was! No one has ever convinced my brain that I am a short person - so I never realized that my height might be a deterrent for Olympic scouts. sigh.

My sister and I rescued a refrigerator box from the garbage and played with it for hours. It was everything from a fortress to a zoo ticket window. And by the end of the day, when it had lost it's structure and heft, we flattened it down into a "raging river".

We took turns jumping over the river and I was the only one who could jump the entire box from end-to-end. A few cousins and friends had joined in by now and a crowd of neighbors and parents were gathered to watch. (the TV must have been broken)

I started to hear positive comments about my amazing jumping ability. Up until then I had no idea that I had this incredible gift. But after that night I became convinced that I was a world-class, up and coming "jumper".

Astonishingly, my Olympic dreams were never realized. I blame my manager.

Catherine said...

Fun pics! My delusions were very similar to yours...gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics (who knew I needed to be able to actually reach my toes to do this sport?), syncro swimming and diving. Ahh..childhood dreams. fun!!

Congrats to your friend's daughter. Way to go!!

Michelle said...

I always wanted to compete in gymnastics and would do cartwheels around the house after watching the competition. Unfortunately, the only thing I ever mastered was a cartwheel. I did live on Mary Lou Retton Drive when my husband and I first got married, though, and sported her "do" for years.