Yes, I am an Olympic junkie. I think it may be in my DNA. I remember watching with my grandparents, and with my parents. And then there were special events that I watched with my Mom, such as Ladies Figure Skating. That event was so significant, it rated popcorn. Mom made perfect popcorn. She used a copper bottomed kettle over a gas stove. There was never a burnt or unpopped kernel. I guess it sort of was Olympic Popcorn. It was appropriate for its technical difficulty and level of artistry. I have learned to appreciate these elements, whether in popcorn or Olympic sports. Yes, I miss watching the Games with her. In her memory, I put her picture facing towards the TV when the games are on.
Fast forward to the year the Jamaicans first entered the Winter Olympics. I cannot imagine what level of faith it would take to even aspire to such an ‘impossible dream’. Or what level of determination it would take to remain on task. I could not fathom what strength of spirit would feed the optimism. But then, I had never been to Jamaica.
Other than soaking in the Caribbean sun, my only ‘goal’ on that 1st trip was to find an Olympic Bobsled Team t-shirt. I came away from that island with all the usual tropical tourist memories and mementos. I found the t-shirt, and learned that the sport is driving a bobsleigh, not sled. And I learned where the team found their spirit, determination and resilience. It is, to me, what defines the people of Jamaica. I have come to know some of those special folks, solidifying my opinion. My husband met them on our honeymoon, and came away with the same thoughts. We’ve been back 5 times, and hope to again. Not just for sun, sand, jerk chicken and Red Stripe beer. It’s the people. There are few words to describe them. Warm, yes, but not just from the sun, it’s from the heart.
So the Bobsleigh team did not make it this year, and I am disappointed. But there was a representative in the Parade of Nations. His name is Errol Kerr, and his sport is Ski Cross. Yes, we’ll root for Team USA; we are after all, Americans. But we will be rooting for Team Jamaica as well, because we are, after all, Jamericans. Respect concrete Errol!