Monday, February 13, 2006

Silver is also beautiful

Yesterday morning we watched Kateřina Neumannová battle through the Olympics cross country pursuit 7.5 +7.5 kilometer, known in Czech as the skiatlonu. It was a super race to watch, particularly as we saw all 15 kilometers, uncut by shots back and forth to other events or long ad breaks (so usual in U.S. Olympics coverage). When you watch all forty minutes of a cross country race, you can better fathom how grueling that sort of match must be, and we cheered for each woman when she crossed the finish line and threw herself onto the snow. Like the rest of the Czech Republic, we were a little sad because Neumannova, despite pulling ahead in the last two kilometers, didn’t get her gold, but as she said in an interview yesterday: "I stříbro je krásné." Silver is also beautiful.

Caroline watched with us, pointing out Neumannova’s racing number 3 whenever she showed up in a shot. When the service people started passing out bottles of water, C tried to pass over her sippy cup to the skiers too. The race over, we finally were able to peel her away by promising we would find some snow to race through ourselves.

Dressed, finally (the epitaph to every morning with Caroline) we headed out the door and over to our local park, Riegrovy Sady. Will hitched our new sled over one shoulder, and Caroline happily swung along between us.

On the way, Will mentioned he’d never gone sledding on anything but a cookie tin in his university years, up north. He was nervous. “How exactly do you steer this thing, and what about stopping?“ Since anything is easier to sled on than a tin square, I thought he’d have no trouble, once he got started, but we both wondered if there would be any snow left, since the streets were running with water and slush from the warm weather (1C/33F).

The park snow stood, mostly unmelted and covered with runner tracks. We found a hill, and Will and the sled went on their first run. Will had a great time, the sled did well too. Then, Caroline’s turn. We tried each hill in the park, until we decided the long double drop facing west, towards the castle, was our favorite.

Caroline loved everything about sledding - she hallooed and whooped on each run down, sitting snug in our laps; on trips back up the hill, she held on firm and encouraged us with giddyups. She seemed older somehow, chatting easily about the crunch of the snow, gloves versus pockets, the best way to carry the sled over cement (with her still on it). Before she went to sleep last night, she imagined her reading chair into a sled and bade me take the chair out, through curves and steep slopes until we landed back in her room and it was time to climb into bed.

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Ellen said...

Of course C is a natural on a sled - having begun so early in the wilds of Switzerland. ;)

Next year it's skiing with Uncle Micha and nothing less!

Anonymous said...

Do you remember sleding on my Y-Flyer down the the hill on Bexhill? The sled in in the storage shed. I doubt that we'll get to use it in Hampton!!

Karla said...

Sounds quite exciting!