Olympic Athletes Are My Best Friends! (Kinda . . . )

Here's a note from my good friend Beth, who is best friends (kinda) with two very special Olympic athletes who were lifesavers for her during one summer season when Beth had some Olympic sized trials of her own . . .

Not many people know that I have a soft spot for the Summer Olympic Games because they saved my life. Well, not exactly but they held my hand, stayed with me and kept me company. It was the summer of 2004.

I was being treated for a serious virus and as a result of the treatments my white blood count was dangerously low. This left me incredibly weak and very prone to infection. Following doctor’s orders, I stayed home and the timing was perfect to watch the Summer Olympics.

Then the chicken tried to kill me. It was a Saturday night and a friend prepared us dinner. It was delicious and fine for everyone else but I knew within a few hours that, for me, the chicken was a BIG mistake.

So I asked my husband to take me to the hospital. They quarantined me in a room. NO VISITORS. A kind nurse turned on the television, mumbled something about the Olympics being a good choice and left me alone. Since I was too weak to turn the television off or change the channel or frankly care about doing either, it stayed on day and night for a full week and I discovered women’s beach volleyball and made two very good new friends Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.

Of all the summer Olympic sports this was probably the one that had least interested me in the past. But that year in an exhausted fog I was enthralled by the sun, sand, sounds and athleticism. I learnt all about the game, aces, attacks and digs became familiar words. I heard about their kneepads, the ball, the net, their private lives even their sun protection and sunglasses.

Those girls, Kerri and Misty, did not care if I dozed off they stayed with me anyway. They just kept on going, playing hard and were still there when I woke up. They were not looking for anything from me. I loved them. We were in it together. They were healthy, strong and tan and made me want to be too. They inspired me to hang in there, if they could do it, I could do it. We high-fived, hugged and sweated. We got sand in our eyes and hit the ground hard at times but we hung in there. We were champions. We were going for the prize. And we did it. They won the gold and I recovered.

So this year I am going to pull up a chair and cheer on my friends. I might even have a red jello for old times sake!!



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