My parents were jocks. No seriously. They were. My dad played volleyball, (European) handball, and ran track in Hungary, and my mother was so good in European handball, that when they arrived in refugee camp in Vienna, a woman’s team recruited her and actually paid her to play. When they arrived in the US, they didn’t have much money, so they looked around for a sport they could play that didn’t cost a lot of money. They chose tennis. Hey, back then, tennis was cheap–all you needed was a racquet, some balls, and a nearby park with courts.
They introduced my sister and me to sports at a young age. I started tennis lessons when I was six, and from that age on we tried just about any sport you could try–tennis, gymnastics, judo, ice skating (holy moly, that was bad), running, bicycling. It wasn’t until seventh grade that I found the sport that truly spoke to me–volleyball, which I still play today–but throughout was tennis. The ‘rents became outstanding players.
To their dismay, neither my sister or I became jocks. I was a total nerd, and she was popular (no hate mail that says popular kids can’t be jocks or that jocks are the popular kids–you know what I mean.) Yes, I still play volleyball, but it’s not the priority in my life as sports were in my parents life. My mother has taken up golf in her, shall we call them her upper years, and underwent knee replacement surgery so she could continue to play.
So when the Olympics came on, my father and mother watched every minute they could. In 1972, we traveled to Europe (to visit family) but we made a special trip to the Munich Olympic park just so we could walk through it. And among their friends, they count two different medal winners–a gymnast who won two golds and a silver, and a canoer who won two silvers. So yes, I have seen actual Olympic medals.
That first Olympics after my father’s death was actually pretty special because watching them was like having him back. So to this day, I watch as much as possible because, well, I miss my dad, and in watching, I can be close to him again.
Enjoy the games,
Books I’m reading now:
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Sunruse Point by Robyn Carr