Dad in the Box

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  
The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck mouthing the words to the National Anthem.  Somewhere around the rockets red glare I space out and forget the words.  
But it’s OK, because in this moment I am an Olympic Gold Medalist. I am the best in the world at something. 
But I understand that becoming an modern Olympic athlete at my age is pretty unrealistic.  So for starters, I will have to turn 17.  
My family won’t be too happy with that.  I think my wife would prefer a husband who is a little bit  older, like maybe a legal adult with a job or life insurance or something.  But she may change her mind after I win my gold medal and ask her to prom. 
And my kids.  They won’t be so stoked either.  I embarrass them now.  I can’t imagine what they will think when I am like their age and hanging with all their friends.  Hopefully I will get some some hair back, but I doubt they will be including me in any group chats or fist bumping me in the hallways at school.
But the biggest problem with being 17 is that I won’t be able to buy beer.  As an Olympic hopeful, this may be a sacrifice I just have to make.  Or maybe my wife can buy for me.

But honestly, turning 17 is the least of my worries.  Because I also have to learn how to do a sport if I want to be an Olympic champion.  I suppose I could figure skate, but between you and me, I just can’t see myself in a tight black jumpsuit decked with gold sequins. Maybe in Vegas, but not in the Olympics.
And forget about curling. Boooooring.
Ski jumping could be cool, but I don’t want to be climbing a lot of stairs to get up there.  They have elevators, right?  And I suppose getting started in the sport could be a little gnarly in a broken bone kind of way.
I have snowboarded before and that seems pretty dope to me.  I can see myself smoking a hash pipe.  I’m sorry.  A half-pipe.  Smoking a half-pipe.  That long snow tunnel thing.  I like it because it looks like there is an easy way down.  
Unlike ski jumping.
So now that I have a sport, the hard work begins.  Because I need to get good.  Real good.  Best in the world good.  Made for TV good.
And to do that I need motivation.  I need an inspiring backstory.  Something that shows hardship and dedication and sacrifice and perseverance.  Like maybe not only am I riding my board twenty hours everyday, but I am also taking out the garbage and trying to raise teenage kids who are the same age as I am.  
I will have to work on that.
And of course to practice twenty hours a day I am going to need my dad to build a half-pipe in our backyard in New Jersey.  And a mountain to put it on.  Either that or have him drive me back and forth to Colorado everyday.  He is 91 now and lives in California, so that may take some convincing.  
He will also need to write a note to the principal so I can get out of school early.
Another problem.  I could probably use some talent.  That may be tough.  Because right now I just don’t have the slopeside cred to be an Olympic snowboard athlete. If I am “laying” anything down, it is probably my body on the couch.  If I go “big” and add a “twist” it is usually to a stiff drink.  To me a “backside 270” means it is time to go on a diet.
I clearly need to upgrade my riding vocab to be taken seriously in the sport.
What else?
Oh yes, I almost forgot.  To be an Olympic snowboard champion I am going to need a snowboard.  
Of course, that means I will need a sponsor and a lucrative endorsement deal.  Because on my final Olympic run for gold I don’t want to be grabbing the bottom of spinning board end over end 60 feet in the air that says Your Ad Here. 
Like I said, pursuing this dream is not going to be easy.  But the good news is that if I start now, by the time I am on Medicare I will still be in my 30s and competing in my fifth winter Olympics.
Beat that Shaun White.
John Christmann is a freelance writer living in Summit, NJ.  His favorite color is plaid and he is afraid of small dogs.  Contact him at

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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