The Brisendine boys, Thomas, Blake and myself, have decided, after much research and thought, to start our own bobsled team.
We’ve been watching a lot of the Winter Olympics over the last week and so far, we’ve concluded,
the bobsled is definitely our event.
We figure if the Jamaicans can do it, surely a trio of West Texas boys stand just as good a chance at the podium.
For practice, we’re setting up couch cushions and decorative
pillows on the floor in front of the television so we can work on our formation while we ride along with this year’s Olympians.
The first task was deciding
what order to sit in once we push off and jump into the fancy sled to hurdle down the track at breakneck speeds.
Thomas decided he’d sit in front since he’s 9 and a good driver. He’s put a lot of miles on his Grandpa’s golf cart and figures if he can drive one machine,
he can pilot them all.
Blake will take the middle seat since he’s 8 and he’s good at adding ballast. Anybody who has ever heard Blake giggle his way down a water park slide or amusement park ride would look forward to the sound track of his bobsled run.
I will ride, as voted on by the boys, in the back since I’m more aged and less aerodynamic than my teammates.
Baxter, the family mascot, rarely misses his chance to join the fun, but alternates whose lap he sits in for the ride along.
Once everyone is in place in our couch cushion practice sled, we lean left or right as we watch each team take the turns on the frozen track.
We’ve only had one nasty spill so far when Blake “Ballast” Brisendine leaned hard left when the rest of the team went right.
Our skids left the grooves and the Brisendine Bobsled Boys flipped in a melee of bodies,
cushions and dog.
Maybe the bobsled isn’t for us after all.
But much to the chagrin of the Missus, we’re determined to keep practicing.
Aside from our shattered dreams of Olympic gold, my family has enjoyed the winter Olympics so far.
Through the first week of the international events, there have not been any of the terror attacks so many feared could mar the games and for this we are all glad.
I have read about, but not seen, the veritable army of security personnel Russia has deployed to keep the athletes and spectators safe.
One thing that has been evident...the Olympics are expensive.
Russia has spent many billions of dollars to host this world event and despite the well-publicized miscues behind the scenes, the actual events thus far appear to be going well.
The competition of athletes from around the world is inspiring
and my family has used the games as a tool to learn more about the world we live in.
Countries we’re not familiar
with are highlighted and lead to impromptu geography lessons.
Sportsmanship trumps nationalism and lessons are learned in how to treat both teammates and opponents.
I’ve never been to Russia and it still isn’t at the top of my list of places to see, but after watching these games on television
I believe I would like to make my way there some day.
Watching athletes from dozens of nations from all over the world put aside their differences to compete and in many cases encourage each other has, I hope, been of some value to my growing brood.
Something I’ve tried to get across as we watch together is that all over the world people are people -- just like us.
There are strifes, even wars, in many parts of the globe.
Much of the news we are bombarded with daily is negative,
sometimes even horrific.
But I continue to believe, and hope my impressionable charges understand, that at their core, the vast majority of human beings care for each other and would rather shake hands than clash swords.
When you get right down to it, that’s what the Olympics are all about and that’s why I always look forward to the games.
Throughout the planet people mostly are just trying
to get ahead as much as they are able and take care of themselves and those closest to them.
I don’t wear rosey glasses and I won’t let my kids be naive to the dangers inherent in the world.
We have been trained to look at different parts of the world with suspicion and rightly so.
There are bad people everywhere -- even in our own part of the world -- so being cautious is prudent.
But being constantly weary of everyone different from us, if unchecked, can lead to cynicism and a disproportionately
negative view of the world around us.
I believe that most of the world, including Russia, is filled with good people.
I’m not talking about politics
or the heads of state we see on our television screens making
veiled threats or demands.
Too often those leaders act as though their countrymen are pawns in an international chess match.
I’m talking about the regular
people in every country on every continent who wake up each morning and put in a hard days work so their kids and grandkids can enjoy a good, safe life.
That’s why I love the Olympics and want my young family to soak up as much of the goodwill as they can while the games are ongoing.
Plus, the Brisendine Bobsled
Boys needs all the practice we can get.