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Norm Blackburn
Kids Olympics
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           I have been watching the winter Olympics. These athletes are amazing. Of course they didn’t get to this level of competition by just eating Wheaties or Smores.
          And the events! Who ever heard of “half pipe” or “Super G” or the “woman’s skeleton”? We Americans don’t spend much time cheering for our favorite curling team. We don’t usually rally around the “Mogal” track or wave the Stars and Stripes for “woman’s alpine”. Unless you are family or a coach we don’t go to many “ice dancing” practices.
          I have lived in warm climates for most of my life but when I was about twelve, I lived in Pelham, New York. We had snow and streams and ponds that froze over. The ice cracked when we walked on it. My favorite was to fill a rubber glove with water and leave it outside overnight. In the morning I had a fake severed hand. Remember, we didn’t have much television and we didn’t Tweet or instant message. We used Crayons and made glue out of flour and water. Ah, the days of innocent youth.
          All this remembering got me to thinking of how the Kids Olympics might have been run way back then. Here are a few of the events that we could have held.
          Opening Ceremonies – We would gather on Saturday morning after breakfast of hot Quaker Oats and fresh squeezed orange juice. We would check out who had a new sled or gloves. Our mothers insisted that we wear a scarf. They were soon left hanging on a tree branch to become stiff as boards. We breathed out fog and sniffed the cold air until our noses turned red. There were no teams. No girls. Every boy for himself. Let the games begin!
          Flexible Flyer Downhill - In this event you lay prone, headfirst on your sled. You start at the top of the hill and fly down the hill negotiating the two-foot jump a few yards before the end. Points are given for not screaming. Points are deducted if you knock snow off the jump with your feet. Bill Hinckley usually won this event because his mother brought hot cocoa.
          Snowman Building – Not the most exciting event but here artistic ability counts a lot. The secret is to bring lots of things to decorate your entry. The old carrot nose and coal eyes didn’t impress the judges. You brought your father’s favorite Mirsham pipe and his brown felt hat. If you could sneak out your mom’s kitchen apron you could build a lady snowman. Of course, lady snowmen were a different category. Girls in my neighborhood weren’t allowed to compete. They could watch but only boys were allowed to win medals. The winner of the Snowman Building event was usually Bobby Cruckshank. His dad had the best hats.
          Snowball Throwing – Here is where the girls came in. The winner of this event was the one who hit a girl and made her cry. Now don’t misunderstand, the girls wanted to be hit and rehearsed their crying so that they sounded really wounded. You threw at the girl you were sweet on and too timid to approach. Points were deducted if they found you had a stone in the middle of your snowball. Most of us did. Petey Green usually got a gold in this event since he had the most girlfriends.
          Ice Sliding – We didn’t have skates so we would run as fast as we could on the dirt and then hit the ice on the pond and slide as far as we could. The ice would crack and sound like firecrackers. One fat guy would always fall through the ice and would have to be fished out and sent home so his mother could give him dry clothes. The winner was the kid who slid the farthest without falling down. Jimmy Henderson always won this event until he was disqualified when we found he had put axle grease from his father’s car on his shoes.
          Snow Rolling – This was the simplest and most fun event of the Kids Olympics. You started at the top of a hill, the one behind the grocery store, and rolled down as fast as you could. The guy who got down the fastest and had the most snow on his clothes won. I always won this event because I was the tallest and could build up more snow on my pants than anyone else.
          Closing Ceremonies – It got dark in the winter about four in the afternoon so we had to get home. We gathered at the bottom of the hill or beside the frozen pond and slapped each other on the back and talked about the girls and promised to be back next Saturday.
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