All the world will soon focus their attention on London when the Summer Olympic Games start on July 27th. However, whenever the Olympics roll around, I always think back to the Munich Games of 1972- not that I could tell you a single thing about those games.
You see I was 5 years old that summer and it was the first Olympics I could remember and after watching these amazing athletes on TV all day, I determined that I too would one day compete. But what to do? I was going to try pole vaulting but when I tried to practice by pole vaulting over our rose bushes using my sister’s bamboo fishing pole, my mother rather sternly told me to come up with something else.
|image from www.usatoday.com|
So I want to the garage and mounted my trusted steed- a bright orange hoppity-horse (for those of you too young to remember, that was a hoppity hop with a horse head) and did my very own Three Day Event in our backyard. My parents’ yard had a steep hill and a drainage creek which ran through the yard at the foot of it. So I would hop down the hill, jump the creek, loop around to the left where there was a slight hill that led back down to the creek which I then hopped again and then back up the main hill to the starting point. I did this several times before I decided I wanted to hop down a steep bank which offered about a 3 foot drop (after all some of the jumps in the cross country portion of the equestrian events had significant banked jumps) That was when I learned two very important lessons:
- I was not going to make the 1976 Olympics no matter how skilled I was in the Hoppity Horse Division
- There is a limit to how far you can jump down on a hoppity horse without significant discomfort to certain areas to your body. Let’s just say both my eyes and my hoppity horse’s eyes got really big.
Oh well some things are just not meant to be I suppose but to all the athletes preparing to represent their country in the Summer Games, Godspeed and best of luck. (And to the United States Equestrian team, my Hoppity Horse and I are standing by if you need us!)