Hail, The Non-Olympians!

Whenever I feel like exercise, 

I lie down until the feeling passes.

Robert Hutchison

Today, I swam my first mile faster than Allison Schmitt–thanks to a lifejacket and the downstream current of the Kennebec River, Maine.  One of the blessings of having three kids is that I can’t excuse myself from all family activities and had awesome fun whitewater rafting with http://www.NorthernOutdoors.   Like a true Olympian, I set my eyes on the gold:  if I survived this day’s epic adventure, the kids will let me have the rest of the family vacation in peace!

I am not sporty.   The one thing I care to do with a pool is to strike a pretty pose or host a party.   The only marathon I’d join would be sleeping.  Even in watching the Olympics, game technicalities can’t distract me from the sheen of muscles, the gentle curves on impossible abs, and the colorful makeup on the women athletes’ determined eyes.  As they struggled to calm their rush of adrenaline, I struggled to recall if  my body was ever that lean in my teens?   I was probably busy bemoaning how I didn’t have curves in the “right” places.

While the champions get all the glory and publicity, I’m interested in those who don’t get the gold.  What makes these men and woman dedicate a lifetime to a chance at winning and mostly losing?  What’s a life determined by the persistent ticking of the clock, the whistle, and measuring up?   How do they get over losing by a millionth of a second or a single misstep after giving their all?

And for mere mortals like us who don’t have the urge to compete,  or can’t stick to the persistence required by strict discipline, deprivation and diet, are we to consider ourselves less than?  In judging everything by a singular standard, are we blinding ourselves to the natural variations of strength and beauty as well as ignoring the effort it takes to participate in life without accolades?   Does happiness have to be derived from supremacy and other people’s opinion?   Can there be only one perfect tree in the forest?

In the adulation of youth and extraordinary achievement, are we more inspired to do better or dismay at our ordinary lives?  One thing I know is that Oscar Pistorius leaves me with no excuse to bitch about the size of my calves.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your thoughts on the Olympics.


© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947


Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Model : Katrina Amato
Styling : Rosy Justo
Makeup : Tomoko Miyamoto
Hair : Yulitzin Alvarez Funes



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