“He needs to get his blade on the ice.”
Looking over at my husband, I tried to decide if he had one or two chocolate donuts in his mouth.
“Get your blade on the ice,” he yelled through chocolate glaze and donut dust.
I squinted over my glasses at the Olympic speed skaters gliding around and around in a frenzy of bad posture and arm swinging.
“Babe, you’ve never speed skated in your entire life.”
He ignored this fundamental reality.
“Dig, dig, dig!” he yelled. “He’s going to lose if he doesn’t dig.” He punctuated his coaching acumen by pushing a half empty bag of chocolate covered donuts back under the bedspread. It’s possible he thought they would cook better under there.
Later, as skiers flew down an icy mountainside he offered up this tip.
“She’s going to be way off the mark if she keeps coming out of her tuck that way.” He was snacking on Swiss Cake Rolls and Pepsi by this time.
I drew a line when he started to coach the curlers on the most advantageous amount of bend to have in their knees to properly push the big-frozen-boulder-thingy down the shuffleboard court made of icy stuff.
“Stop! You do not know the first thing about speed skating, alpine skiing, or curling, which, I happen to know, you do not even consider a real sport.”
“What?” He look offended and a little hurt.
“You! You become the coach-of-all-sports when the Olympics come on.”
He pulled a bag of Doritos from underneath his pillow, shrugged, and said, “You and I ice skated that time in Ottawa, and the kid and I went skiing that time in West Virginia.”
“In West Virginia, where you pointed, hooted, and laughed your butt off on the ski lift when you saw some poor kid crash, burn, and roll down the mountain like a bag of spilled marbles,” I reminded him.
“That kid was your kid, our kid. The kid you’d gone skiing with. That’s it. That’s the sum total of your winter sports expertise.”
Music swelled as they played one of those montages where lithe, athletic young men and women raced, spun, and sailed across the screen into glory and history. I reached for my husband’s grease smeared hand as our National Anthem played.
I blinked hard to hold back sentimental tears.
“It is inspiring.”
“You’re right,” he said, thoughtfully. “So, you know what? I’m thinking that from now on, when I eat Swiss cake rolls I’m only going to drink water.”
I patted the hand holding the chocolate chip cookie.
“Way to go, Coach.”
“Besides I need to get in shape for when the summer Olympics roll around. My coaching specialties are javelin sticking, cross country hedge hopping, and horse dressing.”
“Dressage. It’s called dressage.”
“Exactly, and if those horse dressers don’t get their blades on those horses, they’re out of the medal count for sure; I guarantee it.”
Any great athlete will tell you that the difference between silver and gold is usually the attitude between your ears, the amount of sweat on your brow and, of course, first class coaching. I believe it, and if there’s one thing I know about the Olympic games of any season, it’s good to be the coach-of-all-sports. Coach on, sport. Coach on.
Linda (Finish Line) Zern