Sunday, February 14, 2010

At what cost?

Honestly, I am not a risk taker. Clearly. To prove it, until my two babies were born I had never had a stitch in my body (knock on wood, spit three times, whatever one must to do to continue good fortune). So forgive me, but I am baffled by the Olympic "sport", luge. What is that? If it were not for the Olympics would anyone have heard of this activity? Where does luge occur outside of International competition? I grew up around snow, and yes a few of us may have gone out for some casual sledding at a near by "hill", but luge? Huh? Who thinks "hey I have a great idea! Let's go down a shear ice slope on a little sled at 85 miles an hour, with nothing to protect me but perhaps a little helmet?" And so, why are we all so terribly shocked when tragedy strikes as fate is tempted?

As the world watched, a 21 year old Nodar Kumaritashvili took his final run and headed at nearly ninety miles an hour into a steel pole to his death. The conclusion has been: the death was "user error", and not due to any fault of the track. My argument, what exactly does that mean? There is no room for human error on this death run? Are we not all human, and therefor capable of mistakes? Should we eagerly then send athletes into obviously dangerous endeavours for the sake of "sport" and entertainment? Is it worth it?

As a mother of two, I can tell you that no sport, no career no "dream" could be worth the ultimate sacrifice of my child's life, whether they are four, twenty-one or sixty. Achievement, recognition, fame, gold metals, all can add definition to life, but take it's place? I think not. I can tell you with complete confidence that I would much rather that Zachary and Evan grow up to be in middle management at the local Verizon Wireless store than die zooming down an Olympic track in pursuit of a once-in-a-lifetime gold medal.

So in case anyone was wondering I will not be signing Zack up for "beginning luge" next fall. And if we did live in an area with easy access to sledding I would probably be the mom who was strapping on helmets to her embarrassed kids before sending them down the bunny hill.


  1. I've thought a bit about this. First of all, I've heard that helmets *are* recommended for kiddos on the local sledding hill. And that said, I think luge (and skeleton and bobsled) are just sledding taken to its logical extreme. If you really liked sledding as a child and never wanted to stop, that's what you'd end up doing. Worth it for the risk? Probably is safer than driving your car to work everyday. Necessary? No.

    I hope you don't mind a stranger commenting. Someone just pointed me to your blog as a good one and I thought I'd respond. Cheers!

  2. Dani-Don't mind at all, in fact I love it! Thank you for reading my blog! Keep the comments coming!