I am not very interested in sports. I don’t enjoy watching or playing sports nor do I like watching them on TV or in an arena. I will never live down the time I brought a Vogue magazine to Yankee Stadium and I have been at Super Bowl parties and not known who is playing. But I have to admit, I love the Winter Olympics. We own a ski house so I am more familiar with winter sports and every once in a while I even participate in them. I can ski a black diamond slope and occasionally do so without crying, and I can manage to stay upright on ice skates without taking down small children.
So for the next two weeks, from the Opening Ceremonies at Sochi until the torch has been extinguished, I will be marathon-watching fresh faced and patriotic athletic people performing amazing feats. I will marvel at the dizzying salchows, daredevil ski jumping and death defying luge and bob sledding. I will watch the background stories of determination and training and I will imagine what it would feel like to be on the medal platform. And as I do every four years, I will entertain my fantasy of becoming part of a team. Any team. The Jamaican Bobsled team had a dream and look where it led them! I have entertained a fantasy of commandeering a bobsled with the same agility with which I rode my Red Rover sled down Kamikase Hill in the 60’s. Okay, so a bobsled weighs almost 500 pounds. I am certain that I could compete in curling as I watch the teams chase their stones on the ice. I could be the sweeper — I am certainly well practiced with a broom. I’m sure I could find strength and agility in my own body’s ability. Did I mention that this body is 55?
There don’t seem to be many winter athletes over 25. Still, I like to dream. After all, this year there is a 55-year-old Mexican skier who is also a prince and a pop star, and a 47 and 48-year old husband and wife team who are first time Olympians competing in cross country for the island of Dominica. And he’s from Staten Island! Could I possibly still have it in me?
Then it hit me! I woke up this morning and I realized I do have some coordination and skills. They are on display at night in my bedroom. No, it’s not what you are thinking. I am becoming skilled in a nighttime Olympic sport specifically for middle aged women. I will call it the Menopause Marathon.
Last night I had gotten ready for bed around midnight. I put on my gear, selecting an outfit with minimal fabric for perfect body temperature and ease of movement – as stretchy and light as a figure skater’s costume without the sequins and glitter.
I fell asleep and the first “heat” in the hot flash dash began within the hour. I woke with a start with my heart beating fast and my cheeks flushed. I began my first trick — I shot my arms above my head, blankets twisting and pillows flying. Shaun White may have invented the Double McTwist 1260 but it’s nothing compared to my signature move – the McSteamy Twist 1958 – in honor of the year I was born. My feet did a rapid double toe loop as they kicked out from under the heavy down blanket searching for cooler air. Then it was time for the Bi-athalon, or as I will rename it – the Bath-alon. My feet hit the floor while one eye remained closed. My arms reached ahead of me feeling for open closet doors and other obstacles as I stumbled to the bathroom for a 2-yard dash. I reached the toilet, turned and stuck the landing. The toilet seat lid was in the correct position – extra points for that. Aim, shoot, flush – I hit all 3 marks. Heady with victory I made my way back to the bed in the dark.
That’s when tragedy struck. Hopes were dashed. I stepped on a glossy magazine, and speed skating I did a spontaneous triple lutz, taking a slide along the carpet, going airborne, and doing a face plant in the snowy white carpet.
I got up and made it back to the bed. There were no cheering crowds, no medal ceremony, and fortunately no embarrassment as the only judge (my husband) slept through it all. But I can try again tomorrow…And many nights after that. Because according to my team doctor who knows about these things — these games will continue long after the closing ceremonies at Sochi.