The come­back kid

Along the Trail

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - CHUCK THOMP­SON

I sup­pose it was in­evitable for a sports junkie. As life moves in­escapably on, I find my­self a lit­tle less glued to the tube, but still I watch when a spe­cial event is on. The World Se­ries, the Brier, NFL play­offs all find me star­ing at the flick­er­ing images on the flat screen in front of me. It’s the day to day that has dropped off the radar, the “game of the week” in what­ever sport. There is sat­u­ra­tion now, and it has dulled my in­ter­est.

The re­cent win­ter Olympics proved to be an ex­cep­tion to my grow­ing dis­in­ter­est. I minded the 12-hour time dif­fer­ence and never did fig­ure out if I was watch­ing to­mor­row’s event or last night’s ac­tion. It damp­ened, but did not kill my in­ter­est.

This “orgy of sport” hap­pened at a for­tu­itous time. Deep in the month of Fe­bru­ary, I found my­self click­ing back and forth be­tween the aquar­ium chan­nel and the de­layed broad­cast of the St. An­drew’s, N.B., town coun­cil meet­ings. It was Ground zero of ter­mi­nal bore­dom. Then every­thing ex­ploded in a daz­zle of leap­ing, slid­ing, twisting, jump­ing and spin­ning. There were peo­ple from places that I had never heard of, all try­ing for Olympic glory. In­cred­i­ble ded­i­ca­tion for as lit­tle as 40 sec­onds of ex­po­sure. I par­tic­u­larly ad­mired those who en­gaged in sports they had ab­so­lutely no chance of win­ning, such as biathlon. Slog­ging away in 125th place, so far back they needed a he­li­copter to find the first skier, yet they en­dured. That must be the true Olympic spirit.

Watch­ing this end­less dis­play of frozen ath­leti­cism, I be­gan to pon­der my own per­sonal come­back. Now strictly speak­ing, “come­back” is a stretch. The def­i­ni­tion of come­back, ac­cord­ing to Funk and Wag­nall is “a re­turn, as to health or po­si­tion.” Ex­cept for curl­ing at a very young age, I never had a po­si­tion to come back to.

I quickly ruled out cross coun­try ski­ing (too ar­du­ous for this Win­nie-the Pooh physique). All the snow­board­ing and ski­ing events were hope­less as well. I had never done them when young, and now I could pic­ture an on­set of Ver­tigo. I would be the “lawn dart” of Pyeon­chang.

Af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, I al­most set­tled on two-man luge. All you had to do was run a lit­tle, jump up on the belly of your fel­low luger and hang on for dear life. Then I looked at the out­fits: skin tight, form fit­ting, smooth as silk. If you had a mole, you couldn’t get the suit on. There is too much sand down this hour glass to make that my come­back sport.

The suc­cess­ful event would have to be some­thing that looked a lit­tle dan­ger­ous (what didn’t), took some, but not a lot of time, and re­quired a quick, short burst of ex­er­tion.

Then I saw it! Two-man bob­sled. Ab­so­lutely per­fect! A short, quick run, jump into the sled and hang on, only the top of your hel­met stick­ing out. If you were the lead bob­ber”, you didn’t even need to steer, just hunker down and en­joy the ride, ter­ri­fy­ing as it might be. How bad could it get in 40 sec­onds? Yep. Two-man bob it is.

Olympic glory is less than four years away. Time for a lit­tle dry land train­ing at Bad­deck Forks.

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