Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bode Miller's dad

I haven't watched too much of the Olympics, because honestly? Despite where I live, winter sports pretty much just don't do it for me. However, in the process of unpacking tonight and getting stuff arranged in the new digs, I happened to catch the last little bit of whatever ski race Bode Miller won gold in.

You may or may not recall that Bode's shooting his mouth off prior to the last Olympics got him in a fair bit of trouble. On that basis alone, I feel a kinship. ;-) And while I'm always happy to see someone finally fulfill a dream -- particularly one that's been deferred largely through their own fault (hmmm, I know a bit about that one too), I really couldn't care less about skiing. What got me in the little snippet I happened to look up at the TV and see was Dad's reaction to seeing his boy pull it off: He grinned from ear to ear and then buried his face in his hands and lost it.

I feel ya, Mr. Miller.

It undoubtedly will come as a surprise to some that I have enough of a heart to be driven to tears. ;-) But I actually burst into heaving, messy, noisy, shoulder-shaking sobs in the middle of a frickin' BAR when I got to see, up close and personal, my boy do what he loves and what he does best and succeed beyond all imagining. It is a truly indescribable experience. It was really cool to see someone else get to have it.

As for the athletes -- I am the least patriotic person you will ever meet, but at the medal ceremonies, I always imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. The whole "wave it high, wave it proud, I did it for America" thing affects me not a whit, but I do spend the whole time wondering how it must feel to stand there and think to yourself, "Damn. I. DID. IT." And then do they immediately wonder, "OK, now what?" Because the only thing that keeps me going most days is knowing that, while I've achieved pretty much what I wanted to in life, I haven't achieved it to the degree I want to. When you have no farther up the ladder to go, where do you go?

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

--Langston Hughes

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