The Olympics have started and I am cheering loud and proud for Team Canada.
Something that I have always admired is the performances that have taken these athletes to make it to this stage. They are the best in their country, and the best in the world and it is amazing to know how hard they have fought, trained and worked to get to this level in their sport.
I used to play sports. And when I say used to play, I don’t mean just play for fun. I used to play to win. I was athletic and enjoyed learning about all sports. I tried a bunch from archery and curling to ringette, hockey, volleyball and basketball. I never could narrow down my focus to become excellent but I knew that I belonged on a team.
I have lots of medals and trophies from ringette, hockey and baseball. I was a play maker, not an incredibly high scorer but with lots of assists. Per my coaches I always had a good head for the game. I knew where every player was and could anticipate the plays better than most other players. Girls that I used to play Ringette with have moved on to be part of Team Canada and I’m proud of their performance and wonder if I had stuck with it if I would be there with them now.
At 14 I changed my ringette stars and signed up to play hockey. I could already skate, but could I play hockey? They thought I was much better than I was because I had wheels and so they let me play travel. But I was always the first off-side and never quite mastered the stick handling. Over four years I learned how to better my skills and I finally quit the sport after an injury saw me taken off the ice on a stretcher.
I quit sports for a long time after that. I don’t know if I was just afraid of getting hurt or I just had no idea how to fit in. It was baseball that brought me back. you can play ball at any level and my chubby thunderthighs are now out on the diamond, fielding, hitting, attempting to run. It’s good to get back out there.
And so I look to these athletes and I applaud their determination. I cheer their triumphs. I share their sorrows. Most of all, I just scream “Go Canada! Go!” as they go faster, higher, longer than I ever could dream of.