Lake Placid Luge

Have you ever wanted to be an Olympian? I have always thought it would be so cool to be one of those super talented athletes who get to carry the flag of red, white and blue into the arena proudly with all the other elite athletes of the world. It is not that I am so competitive that I want to be the best in the world at some sport, rather, I just think it sounds really cool to able perform one of these unusual but cool sports.
I mean who grows up curling or speed skating? Where do these people learn these sports? It’s not like I have ever seen a beginner bobsledding class at the local YMCA.

Back before I officially had a bucketlist, I used to like to do zany things, or as I called it, sampling of life! One weekend while we lived in upstate New York, we took a road trip to Lake Placid, New York and toured this quaint little Adirondack Olympic town. I feel in love with the small town feel that was a cool mixture of small town charm, rich history, and funky mountain town.

On this trip, we learned we could actually go up to the top of the ski jump and stand at the gate, taking turns pretending we were about to go for the Gold on the long jump! On TV the ski jump is fun to watch and I remember thinking these guys were pretty gutsy, but I must admit, standing on the top of the long jump looking down at the ramp ahead of me, I came to the quick and accurate conclusion that these guys are certifiably nuts.

The exploration of Lake Placid got even better when we realized we could walk up the hill where the bobsled and luge runs were located. It was cool to think we were where history was made. About this time, we stumbled upon a sign that said you could actually pay $25 to go down the bobsled run in the summer. In the summer they put the sled on wheels for the ride. Your other option was to wait for snow and take a shot at the luge run.

Determining that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that simply had to be taken while we had the chance, we made our plans. I wanted to bobsled when my friend Karen came to visit later that summer and Dan wanted to wait for snow and luge.

A few weeks later, back in this quaint little town, my friend Karen and I anxiously waited our turn. We had to sign our life away on the waiver, which at the time didn’t seem very sensible because we both had two small children at home, but nevertheless, we both signed on the dotted line.

Now the bobsled run was absolutely a hoot. It was a bit like riding down a water park slide on a flat wooden sled on wheels. If you held your body really rigid and didn’t move your head the sled would kind of go where it was supposed to go. If you tried to control where you were going things got complicated in a hurry. I quickly learned on my own that when I turned my head or slightly twisted my body the sled would start to ride up on the chute causing me to have an even wilder ride.

About half way down the run the adrenaline in my body made way for common sense and I steadied my body. The ride smoothed out and I quickly gained speed. Fighting the urge to turn my head and attempt to control my outcome, it hit me that life was a bit like this. When I tried to channel my inner control freak and control all the variables in my life, havoc was usually the end result. The more I would try to control the variables in my life, the more out of control life would get. Learning the lesson, that sometimes the best decision was to just go with the flow, I finally understood that in life there are only a few things I could control. The rest of life had to just happen. It was a good lesson, one that I have had to relearn a few times since then, but good nevertheless!

While I was zipping down the bobsled run that day with my friend, all I could imagine was the roar of the crowd, the ticking of the time clock and the determination of the individual athletes as their entire life came down to one run. As I navigated one s curve after another on this most famous bobsled course I wondered what must it have felt like to be a real Olympian on this run?

Long before I finished pretending I was in this for the Gold my run was over and I was left to ponder the idea of following my dreams to the top of an Olympic run and the challenge of letting go of my desire to control every aspect of my life. Sometimes, you just have to let go and let God drive the sled.

It was a great experience and I am thankful for the courage to give the bobsled run a try. I am still trying to learn the other lesson.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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