Two of my kids were over for dinner the other night and after their free meal was consumed we turned on the Winter Olympics. It seemed a good time to let them know I was very disappointed in how their lives turned out.
   "What did we do now?" asked my 27 year old son as he watched a snowboarder do a ridiculous quadruple somersault while hurtling 50 feet above certain death.
    "It's not what you did," I replied. "It's what you didn't do. You could have been on worldwide television right now and securing endorsement deals as an Olympic athlete."
   "I get nauseous just watching somersaults," said his slightly older sister. "I don't think snowboarding is my thing."
   They didn't get it. I didn't want them to be snowboarders, ski racers or even figure skaters. There are way too many talented people out there doing those mainstream sports. They'd never have a chance. I wanted them to excel at obscure sports, where they could rise right to the top.
   "You would have been incredible at Curling," I suggested to my daughter, referring to the weirdest Olympic sport in the world. "You can push the pucky thing (I guess they're actually called stones) on ice, and you've always been a good sweeper. You really blew it by not taking up Curling years ago."
   "It's your fault," she replied. "All those hours on the soccer field and basketball court when I was a kid. What a waste. We could have been at the Berkeley Ice Rink practicing Curling. I could have been a champion if I didn't have a father who was so short-sighted."
   "I'll take some of the blame," I admitted. "But it's really your mother's fault. She's the one who is Canadian. Curling is in her blood, and yours, too. She's the one who should have inspired you."
   Her mother wasn't buying it, mainly because she apparently had never curled (if that's what you call it) while growing up in Quebec. Good choice. It's way too popular there.
   In the Bay Area, though, my daughter would have been a big fish in a very small pond. In no time at all, she would have been the best curler within hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles, and the next step would have been the U.S. Olympic team, which has come in last place in Curling for the previous two Olympics. They would have begged her to compete.
   Katie Couric would have come to our house to do a segment on how Curling became an obsession in our household and how my daughter overcame geographic disabilities and a lack of opponents to beat all odds and become an Olympian. I would modestly and selflessly tell her of our trips to the Berkeley Ice Rink, where I'd watch my daughter pursue her Olympic dream by sweeping the ice for hours on end. Tears would be shed.
   "What about me?" asked my 27 year old son, tiring of hearing of my daughter's dashed Olympic hopes. "I could have been a great curler."
   "That's your sister's domain," I replied. "You blew it by not becoming a great bobsledder. While you were playing Little League and CYO basketball, you could have been bombing down hills in our neighborhood."
   "Don't you need snow?" he ignorantly asked.
   "With an attitude like that, it's clear why you're not an Olympian," I responded. "Shaun White and Chloe Kim, who just won gold medals in snowboarding, grew up in San Diego and Los Angeles, respectively. Last I looked, it doesn't snow there, either."
   "You're fast and you're strong," I continued. "You would have been perfect for the four man American bobsled team."
   He was warming to the idea. "I do have an aerodynamic body," he humbly said, visualizing himself on the podium. "And you only have to run about 20 steps before you jump in, put your head down and enjoy the ride. As long as I don't have to drive, I'm in!"
    I knew he'd be excited about the lack of exertion part. It was right up his alley. I began to wonder if there was still time for him to become an Olympic bobsledder, despite all those wasted years playing mainstream sports. He has a way of getting things done when he sets his mind to it.
   We discussed it a bit further and excitedly decided a course of action for him to become an Olympian. It entailed marrying a woman from Morocco, moving there and gaining citizenship. Then he would organize a four-man Moroccan bobsled team, hopefully with a good driver. That's what the Olympic dream is all about.



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