The Tokyo Games begin, and I remember how I’d hoped to be an Olympian.
I didn’t have any one sport in mind. I’d watch the women’s 100-meter free swim and try it out in Mr. Frank’s pool, sending water over the sides. We used to have the A-frame to an old, peeling swing set, and it worked as a gymnastics bar Janaya and I could hang from. We set an office chair in the middle of the backyard for a vault, which worked until you launched up onto it and it swiveled away from you.
Track and field was my favorite – Allyson Felix and the 200-meter. I’d put on my New Balances and crouch with my heel against the garage door. Trent or Janaya held a timer while I’d shoot toward the mailbox.
But we had our best shot at Olympic training in winter, especially if the snow was hard and Papa’s pond froze over. Hockey, skiing, speed skating, luge, snowboard cross, bobsledding in the Little Tikes wagon with dirt bike helmets on, hopping in one-by-one and rattling down the driveway.
Olympic gold was at our (numb) fingertips.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but there are other things I’ve wanted to be. I remember writing a story as a ten-year-old and showing Mom my author’s bio:
Bethany J. Melton is an aspiring author who enjoys swimming, eating, and playing hockey. In the future, she’d like to be a mom, a sports journalist, a missionary, and an Olympian.
“That’s a lot,” Mom had said.
I guess you learn to whittle things down as you go. You get older and the world gets bigger and distances between wishes and realities grow longer.
The Olympics still kick up the dreams inside me, but I’ve got other, quieter dreams I’m working towards — the kind that don’t put me on a podium but that settle me in the dust of the place I’ve been given, with its little kids and older people.
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” ~ Revelation 2:10