Welcome+to+My+Winter+Olympics+


Article by Ronald L. Brown
Photos by Sean Gallagher

Okay, this is going too far.

I'm having dreams about Bob Costas. Nearly asleep, I can hear Scott Hamilton telling the audience that he scores me a "4" for the angle that I put my head on the pillow.

Welcome to my Winter Olympics.

In the past, I've glanced casually at most events besides ice hockey. I like the ceremony and creativity of Opening Night, but most of my concerns lie in the really important questions, like: Can Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock lead the Canadians to the only medal that matters to our neighbors up north, and how the Red Wings' usual contingent of Olympians—Zetterberg, Datsyuk, et al.—will fare, hopefully without getting an injury to hinder a Wings' stretch run to the playoffs.

Something happened along the way, however.

A few nights ago, I sat down to watch figure skating with the wife. Not my favorite way of passing time, but what the heck—she puts up with the Stanley Cup finals and countless Tigers games over the course of the year. Married men know that you always need to take advantage of an opportunity to score points with the boss lady.

I was most intrigued by U.S. figure skater Evan Lysacek. Thanks to NBC's coverage, where every angle seems to be covered, the "pre-game" hype focused in part on Lysacek's intense training regimen, with a variety of workouts, especially off-ice, that would leave me—and most of us—in an ambulance or a hearse.

Then the competition started. I wonder who started the notion that a man or woman could or should be able to leap into the air, spin around three or four times, then land perfectly on a pair of blades centimeters wide, but they have to have a certain modicum of insanity in their veins.

Still, Lysacek and his brethren, especially Russian rival Yevgeny Plushenko amazed me, not to mention millions of people watching around the world. The technique, attention to detail, perseverance and dedication of these skaters.

So, in the process of scoring points with my wife, I gained a new respect for athletes whose commitment to their sport rivals any other physical endeavor.

I guess I never appreciated that becoming an Olympic champion is a full-time job, filled with small successes and failures that hopefully add up to success in a world where success and failure are often separated by fractions of seconds, inches and points.

A few days ago, I wondered silently if Lysacek and the other figure skaters could play hockey. Now, I doubt that Sid Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Nick Lidstrom and the other giants of hockey present in Vancouver could put a lifetime of training into a three- or four-minute performance watched by the entire world.

But, please—just save me from more dreams about Bob Costas.

Ronald L. Brown is a Saginaw native and a Bay City resident, and is an adjunct instructor of English at Delta College.

© Ronald L. Brown, 2010