10 August 2012

Confessions of an Olympics Addict Pt. II: Seven Years Old Again

As the the 2012 Olympics draw to a close in London, I'm still held captive by the spectacular display of athleticism, talent, and sportsmanship.  Yesterday, as the U.S. Women's National Team won gold in soccer, I was reminded that this truly is the Year of the Woman at the Olympics.  More than anything, I hope that this display of greatness sparks more interest in women's sports.  I hope it inspires a new generation of female athletes. 

I know that the Olympics sure inspired me.  Every four years, for two weeks at the end of the summer, I feel seven years old again.  I'm transported back to the days when I would play Olympics out on our driveway.  Playing tennis against the basketball backboard.  Dribbling the soccer ball down through the gravel and back.  Pitching the baseball to myself.  Breaking out the goggles in the pool.  Gymnastics on the trampoline.  Creating my own sports -- like rollerblade basketball.  Keeping score in chalk on the sidewalk and getting so mad if it rained and washed the scores away.  For two weeks and probably months afterwards, I was Mia Hamm or Lisa Leslie or Dominque Dawes.  I remember getting my first soccer ball during the Atlanta games.  It had the mascot from the games on it...man, I wish I still had that.  And going to soccer camp for the first time. 
If you want to make me seriously happy, find me something with this little guy on it.  His name was Izzy, I think. 
 The Olympics remind me of those great times...when I dreamed so big.  And they kind of make me a little sad too -- knowing that those days have passed.

But more than anything, they give me hope.  Today, I know that there are little girls all across the country who are out on their driveways pretending to be Abby Wambach or Diana Taurasi.  They're doing flips in the basement pretending to be Gabby Douglas.  They're in the pool pretending to be Missy Franklin.  And that's a beautiful thing.   

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