Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sherwood's Olympic Struggles

“He needs to get his blade on the ice.”

Looking over at Sherwood, my dearest husband of more than thirty years, I tried to decide if he had one or two chocolate donuts in his mouth.

“Get your blade on the ice,” he yelled at the television 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.

“Sherwood, you’ve never speed skated in your entire life.” He ignored this fundamental reality.

“Dig, dig, dig!” he yelled. “He’s going to loose 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.

“You mean, “dig” with their skates and not shovels, right?”

He gave me the look.

Later, as skiers flew down an icy mountainside he offered up this observation.

“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 the 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-thing down the shuffleboard court made of ice.

“Sherwood! Stop right now. You must stop. You must. 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 comes on.”

He pulled a bag of Doritos from underneath his pillow, shrugged, and said, “You and I ice skated that time in Ottawa, and Adam and I went skiing that time in West Virginia.”

“And you pointed, hooted, and laughed your butt off when you were on the ski lift, and you saw some poor kid crash, burn, and roll down the hill underneath you like a bag of spilled marbles,” I reminded him.


“That kid was your kid. It was Adam. That’s it. That’s the sum total of your winter sports expertise.”

We looked at the television as music swelled, while 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.

“It is inspiring.” I blinked hard to hold back sentimental tears.

“You’re right,” Sherwood 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 his hand.

“Way to go, coach.”

I haven’t actually seen my husband follow through on his training regiment yet, but the year is still young and the summer Olympics are on their way. You should hear him yell advice to those women shot putters.

Linda (Finish Line) Zern

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