The Olympics, and
We have been fans of the Olympics for over 40 years, but we are almost glad to see the flame go out this weekend. Why? Because for many folks like us, the Olympics can take over your lives. We are not alone in our passion for watching the various sports. The other night, I was at a women’s meeting in town. The meeting was supposed to end at 7:30, but, being women, most of us lingered to share laughter and meaningful sisterhood - until suddenly one gal said, “Hey, it’s 7:45, and I want to get home for the Olympics.” The room cleared out real fast.
What I find interesting is how many new sports keep being added. For instance, golf and baseball are coming. Burt and I both love watching beach volleyball. I’m suspicious that the women athletes in bikinis may be part of the attraction, but then again, I’m glued to the tube when the guys are playing. It’s an exciting sport to watch, but somehow I can’t help wondering how the ancient Greeks would view women playing beach volleyball in skimpy bathing suits.
My point in this column today is those of us of a certain age watch these young, vigorous athletes performing in sports of all kinds and try not to think back to when our bodies took risks, flew through the air, bounced on a pogo stick or leapt off the sofa without suffering for days with aching joints. Actually, we all know athletes suffer injuries, but they keep on competing anyhow.
Suddenly, last evening while watching gymnasts go airborne, I found myself thinking back to my one and only experience with parasailing - not recognized as a real sport, just more of a recreational thing, like bungee jumping or skydiving. Here’s the story: Burt and I had not been married very long when his boss invited us to Acapulco, the famous resort in Mexico. We stayed at a classy villa high on a hill, and for three days, I watched people floating high in the sky over Acapulco Bay, suspended by a colorful parachute. Of course, I had to try parasailing. This activity involves being strapped into a harness-type seat that is attached to ropes, then running fast across the sand while a motorboat out in the bay eventually gets you airborne. Timing is everything. The tricky part was trying to understand the Spanish directions given by the cute young men running this beach concession. There were no papers to sign, no lawyer lingering, as there had been when I tried skydiving. Obviously, there are different rules in Mexico compared to America - sometimes no rules. I was once put on an extremely spirited horse in Ensenada, Mexico so I could merrily gallop on the beach and through the surf. The only instruction given by the guy with the horse was to yell “alto” when I wanted the horse to stop. For what its worth, the horse did not do “alto” until he got tired.
Back to parasailing. The boss, his wife and Burt were not interested in sharing this adventure, but my husband was willing to take me down to the beach and pay the $15. When the beach boys saw us walking toward them, they took one look at Burt and said, “No, NO, TOO MUCHO GRANDE!” Burt said, “Don’t worry fellas, I am NOT going up in that thing!” However, ahead of me in line was this extremely well-endowed lady, in a two-piece bathing suit. You should wear a bathing suit because it is highly possible, if you don’t follow directions, you will end up being dumped in the water. The beach boys seemed to enjoy themselves a bit too much strapping the lady into the harness. She seemed to understand that she was to run fast when the boys waved a red flag. The motorboat started moving, the lines hooked to her and the parachute started taking up slack, but somehow this woman lost her balance and ended up flat on her face in the sand. The boat stopped, the lines went slack and the boys all raced to help her to her feet. She was angry, embarrassed and spitting sand. She demanded a refund and left. She also left two big craters in the sand where she landed.
For me, all went well because I learned from the lady to run fast and not fall down. Suddenly, I was airborne, going up, up, up into the blue sky, with the magnificent view of all of Acapulco down below. The feeling I remember best is what a bird must feel like - soaring silently through the air. I loved it and would definitely do it again. Eventually the motorboat circled back to the starting place. By pulling on certain colorful lines, I slowly descended back on the beach and into Burt’s waiting (and relieved) arms.
And, now, on the subject of growing older and no longer even coming close to doing what the Olympians have been doing for the past three weeks, here is a day brightener sent in by a lady in her 90s. She is in an assisted living facility, emails me often about this column, and I have such admiration for her because she made herself learn to use a computer. She also has a somewhat wicked, but adorable sense of humor. Here is what she recently sent:
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I Have Five Boy Friends (author unknown)
I am seeing five boyfriends every day. As soon as I wake up, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go see John. After that, Charlie Horse comes along, and he takes a lot of my time and attention. After he leaves, Arthur It-Is shows up. He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy day, I am really tired, so I go to bed with Ben Gay. I am thinking of calling Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker to come and keep me company.
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Here is what I think might be today’s lesson for all of us - be happy where you are, try not to complain about getting old(er), keep on learning new things and, above all, hang on to your sense of humor.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her husband, Burt, their dog, Charley, and a shelter cat named Lap Sitter. Bobbie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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