It seems as if all you hear these days is Winter Olympics this and Sochi that. My wife and I have such a level of enthusiasm for these events that we will be commemorating them by gorging on the new season of "House of Cards."
It's not that we have anything against winter sports. It's more that we have gotten our fill of extreme athleticism that involves frigid temperatures and rigid surfaces.
For instance, last winter my wife and I were strolling across a parking lot when she suddenly performed a layback spin, followed by a spectacular half Lutz, which was topped off by a perfectly executed split-legged landing. Or at least that's the impression I got.
"Whoa!" I exclaimed. "I didn't think you had that in you! Let me get an index card so I can give you a score."
"You idiot!" she replied. "I slipped and fell on the ice! Help me get up before my heinie freezes to the asphalt!"
As amazing as my wife's display of wintertime athletic prowess was, I outdid her with an epic feat of fancy footwork a few days later.
I was exiting the house with innumerable things on my mind. None of them included what was to happen next.
The steps gave me the first nudge into Olympic greatness by shifting their position ever so slightly. As a result, the top step wasn't where I had assumed it was. Unbeknownst to me, the steps had taken things to the next level by coating themselves with a slick layer of frost.
My initial footfall missed the top step. Upon making contact with the frictionless surface of the second step, my foot shot out from beneath me at a speed normally associated with a luge.
My sense of balance went swiftly and hopelessly awry. What happened next is a blur, but I believe it involved several aerial rotations and at least one midair somersault.
The landing could have been ugly but thankfully I managed to arrest my fall with my face. Which was lucky, because the hard-packed snow at the bottom of the steps offered precious little padding.
Myriad vocalizations took place during this event, including some very loud and very choice words that were bellowed as I lay upon the ground. After a few chilly moments, I was able to gather my wits and regain my feet. I hobbled back into the house to report this calamity to the authorities.
My wife was taken aback at my snow-spattered appearance.
"What happened to you?" she asked.
I described what had transpired, sparing no details.
"Didn't you hear me shout?" I asked. "I could have frozen to death mere feet from the house!"
"It must be like that tree thing," she replied. "If a husband falls off the steps and his wife isn't there to hear him, does he make a sound?"
Like many farm kids, I began my Winter Olympic training at an early age. Living on the flatlands meant there were few suitable hills to practice downhill sports. A little ingenuity resolved that situation.
Dad cleaned the gutters in our dairy barn every day and would spread the manure on our fields. A bracket at the rear of the spreader proved to be an ideal place to hook the baling twine that was attached to our sled.
The speeds thus attained never exceeded 3 mph. On the other hand, we learned how to steer the sled. Also that you had best get off the sled and unhook it when Dad put the spreader into gear.
When he was a kid, our youngest son craved winter sports to the point where he became obsessed with snowboarding. I would construct practice slopes for him by piling up snow with our loader. These manmade miniature mountains enabled him to snowboard for approximately two seconds per run.
One day, the boy pestered his mother into pulling him behind the pickup with a long rope while he was strapped to his snowboard. This was incredibly dangerous! But that kid could be incredibly irritating when he wanted something.
Things went extremely well. Too well it seems, as he became cocky and attempted to "get air" by launching himself off a large snowdrift. He soared wonderfully - but disappeared amidst a puff of snow when he landed!
My wife backed up to where he was last seen, fearing the worst. The boy was on his back, embedded in the snow. Despite the hard landing, he was wearing a huge grin.
We were glad he was OK. We were also pleased that he was continuing our family tradition of bringing home Winter Olympic black and blue.