It's Time for the Winter Olympics! And whether you're a curling fanatic or a downhill skiing fan, chances are strong that you heard about the Jamaican bobsled team's improbable run to this year's Olympic Games. They qualified for the games for the first time since 2002, only to realize they had one week to raise $80,000 for team costs in order to compete at the games. But nothing is impossible when you're a Jamaican bobsledder. They raised the cash, and managed to compete in Sochi, against obstacles most would find insurmountable.
The first ever Olympic Jamaican bobsled team was of course immortalized in the 1993 Disney Classic "Cool Runnings." One of my favorite parts of the film occurs between the coach (Irv) and Sanka, who thinks he should be the driver, instead of his more dedicated friend, Derice:
Irv: You see Sanka, the driver has to work harder than anyone. He's the first to show up, and the last to leave. When his buddies are all out drinking beer, he's up in his room studying pictures of turns. You see, a driver must remain focused one hundred percent at all times. Not only is he responsible for knowing every inch of every course he races, he's also responsible for the lives of the other men in the sled. Now do you want that responsibility?
Sanka: I say we make Derice the driver.
Irv: So do I, Sanka. So do I.
This spring, I will be running the Boston Marathon, which is essentially a combination of a world class 3 hour foot race and a parade. The weather will be nice (hopefully), and the crowd of 500,000 spectators will be incredibly supportive. What few people realize is how much sacrifice, how much time "studying pictures of turns" each runner has put into that one single race. Without a treadmill at home and no gym membership, I am often out running for 2-3 hours in very unfriendly late winter weather in preparation for Boston. Two days ago, the wind was so strong on my 15 miler that I wasn't even sure I'd be able to finish. However, that's the price that must be paid for a strong race in Boston.
In a similar vein, it's calving season on most ranches across the state. While everyone loves seeing new baby calves take their first steps, few understand the sacrifice it takes on behalf of the rancher to keep each calf alive. New calves must be protected from brutal late winter snowstorms and "rookie" heifers that don't know how to take care of them. It's often the case that the rancher has to help pull the calf out by hand during labor. And during calving season, there are no hours or schedules. Ranchers are up at all hours of the night and day, sacrificing sleep and sanity, ensuring that the newest members of their herd (and their mothers) are safe and sound.
So whether you're sitting inside watching the luge, or out playing with your kids in the next winter storm, don't forget to say a prayer for the ranchers working overtime to protect their cattle from the elements. And while our task isn't remotely as important, don't forget about the crazy spring marathoners trying to grind out another long training run in the cold!