Monday, March 07, 2005

Wacky athletes

Growing up, I always hated PE class. A combination of always being picked last for the team and changing my clothes in front of other people in the locker room brought about these hostile feelings that still linger today. While I enjoy playing an occasional softball or soccer game with my family, the athlete in me is still hidden and remains a stranger to the world.

A couple of years ago, we took a family Kung Fu class taught by a guy from our church. At the beginning of each session, we stretched ourselves like pretzels as a warm-up to the exercises that came to follow. My least favorite stretch was "the splits." Now, I will tell you right now that I was never one of those cute little girls in your elementary school class who did handsprings and cartwheels like a pro, and when it comes to the splits, my body was just not made for that sort of thing! My husband, a card carrying member of the "no-pain-no-gain club", always encouraged me to push myself down to the ground until it hurt like a tendon was going to snap, but what he didn't understand was that is what I felt when my "split" looked like an upside-down "V". After a couple of weeks in the class, he was flat on the floor, while I still hovered about 1 1/2 feet above it. While I enjoyed the class and it was a great workout, I did get tired of comments like, "you hit, kick, run, punch, fight like a girl", and, "you do the splits like a guy!"

I only tell this story to illustrate that I am not an athlete and when I read about people who do amazing physical (or wacky) feats, I take notice. Here are a few stories that caught my eye this weekend, about those crazy people that I don't understand: athletes!

-Forty Australian surfers rode a giant surfboard for a total of four minutes to break an unofficial world record previously held by an English team. It is worth checking out this link just to see the hilarious picture!

-In Alaska, participants in the 33rd Iditarod began their 1,100 mile trek across a frozen land to compete for a first-place cash prize of $75,000! The mushers include Martin Buser, who had his right-hand middle-finger amputated on Tuesday, and a woman named Rachael Scdoris who is the Iditarod's first legally blind musher in history! WOW! I wish them the best!

-In Los Angeles, the 20th LA marathon kicked off on Sunday morning and runners began the 26 mile trek to reach the finish line. A woman, Tatyana Pozdnyakova, is reaching for her 3rd in a row, #1 women's title, made extra special this year because she is 50 years old! I am rooting for this gal, she is truly inspiring. Personally, I think anyone who drags their butt over the finish line of a 26-mile race is amazing indeed!

Enjoy your day!