So the 2014 Winter Olympics are nearly over and yet again Team GB have proven they are quite good at throwing themselves and objects around on ice. On snow we haven’t done quite so well but we did get a medal and actually in world standings in snowboarding and snow cross and the like we’re up there with the good guys – well girls really. But it’s all made me think again.
Ice. Snow. It’s all really cold. Mountains with snow and ice. Arenas with ice and blades. It’s all really dangerous, exhausting – oh and dangerous! And those girls on the giant tea-trays! (that’s skeleton to the initiated). Totally insane!
So you have to ask yourself (and them), why do it? After all, they could all chose summer Olympic sports don’t appear to me to hold the same level of danger.
The answer that many might give is “because we can”. Some admit that adrenaline is addictive. Some say that it’s because the ultimate challenge is with yourself, to push yourself to the limits to achieve something no-one else can. Others will just come out and admit “it’s fun” or “because we want to”. But we bystanders all know that really it’s because they are different (oh, and mad).
Everyone looks (or should look) for challenges in their lives – Winter Olympians just go that extra mile. They look for the ultimate challenge – travelling at stupid miles an hour down an ice chute, throwing themselves down an icy mountain and trying to avoid little sticks, skiing long distances and stopping to shoot at things, launching off into the air to fly like an eagle (to quote the closing ceremony of the Calgary Games and referring to the iconic Eddie the Eagle Edwards).
For rest of us mere mortals, challenge comes from different places; we don’t search for an ice mountain.
For some, the greatest challenge is leaving the house in the morning and confronting the outside world. For others it’s finding a job that makes them feel “human”. Some meet the challenge by picking up the phone continually through the day, knowing that 99% of the people are going to put the phone down on them. Others care for the sick and the elderly and get little thanks for their effort. It could be that a huge challenge is meeting new people, or even worse standing up and talking in front of a room full of people. For some it’s writing, anything, let alone sharing it in a blog. Challenges come from not shouting at the children who yet again have spilt the milk all over the floor that has just been cleaned, getting through the day without dissolving into a nervous wreck; from making it through the day – no seriously, just making it through the day.
I think I’m lucky. I’ve chosen the challenges that I want to meet. They may seem dull and mundane to some; they may seem scary and bold to others. But they are what makes my life for me and makes me who I am. So maybe we should be more considerate to the person in the queue who appears to be dithering and getting in our way, maybe today they chose to meet their challenge.
Everyone has a challenge that they need to overcome to get through the day – where’s your ice mountain?