When my less-than-blazing speed was duly noted by the Dora track coach 35-plus years ago, I was sent with the other slow-pokes to the old baseball field, supplied with a softball, a shot put and a discus, and condemned to “field events.”
My lifelong ineptitude for throwing a softball surfaced quickly, but I could hold my own putting a shot, and I was actually reasonably good at hurling a discus.
So was born an obsession.
Four-time Olympic gold champion Al Oerter became my hero. I convinced my parents that I needed my own discus (not one, but two!). I scraped out a practice field in an empty pen in our corral. Armed with a 200-foot tape measure, I spent endless hours honing my form.
Sessions often ended with a climb atop a nearby feed trough from where I leaned down to humbly accept my gold medal. Tears filled my eyes as I hummed our National Anthem.
Watching the London Olympic Games this week takes me back.
Behind all of the high-tech gizmos, the scientifically-perfected gear and the computer-enhanced training procedures (not to mention the sound of the ancient Greek founders of the games rolling over in their graves), there is still something splendid about the Olympics.
There always will be for those of us who dream.
Betty Williamson believes the best thing about imaginary gold medals is that they never need to be dusted. You may reach her at: email@example.com