I am a Summer Olympics fanatic y’all. Every 4 years, I am absolutely glued to my TV screen watching amazing athletes from all around the world perform amazing acts of athleticism. And I totally jive on it. I am completely emotionally wrapped up in the Summer Olympics. The London Olympics alone, I have cried like, 4 times. And when people replay clips from the Olympics? Yeah, usually that results in tears streaming down my face. I just love seeing people who have worked so hard towards one goal achieve that goal. It’s pretty spectacular.
The one negative side effect of my watching the Olympics, is that I get an increasing distorted view of what I am capable of myself. For instance, after Kerri Strug ensured the 1996 US Women’s Gymnastic team would get the gold by literally sacrificing her body, I decided that I too, could be an elite gymnast. Never mind the fact that I was 11 and had never taken a gymnastics class before, I just new I was destined to be a gold medal earning gymnast. I made my parents enroll me in gymnastics and buy me a pretty sweet competition leotard. I was ready. And also, I wasn’t very good. At all.
And the thing is, I do the exact same thing every 4 years. I see an athlete do something amazing and I think to myself “Self, if I just put in some hard work, that could totally be me in 4 years.” And then I jump into a pool, swim a hundred laps as fast as I can and almost die. Or I start trying to do back handsprings again because, you guys, I’m totally sure that at 27 and with almost no experience, I can definitely make the next women’s Olympic gymnastic team. Or I decide that I’m going to really throw myself back into tennis (I actually did play this sport successfully in High School) and wind up with a knee the size of a watermelon because, oh yeah, I have that old injury. Or, worst of all, I try sprinting. Sprinting. And then not only do I end up with a swollen knee, I also end up on the ground unable to breathe with a very red face (both from embarrassment and lack of oxygen) because I am not a sprinter y’all. It’s not a thing that is in my wheelhouse. But, right before I start doing any of these things, I think about the Olympics and Olympic athletes and it makes me think that I can do these things. And that’s why watching the Olympics is both awesome and dangerous.