The “O-Word”

In case you all missed it, or weren’t paying attention, I was recently honored with the opportunity to kick off the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation’s athlete blog with a post of my own. I considered this a great compliment to my writing, which I almost thought no one was paying attention to!

Of course, immediately after agreeing to do it, I was struck with terror and my brain went crazy. This thing was going to be on the front page of the USBSF website. People were going to read it! Lots of people! Maybe even important people! I must write something profound! No! I must be extremely witty! But if I try too hard, I’ll come off like I’m an idiot because I’m trying too hard!

What ultimately came out on paper was the explanation of a phrase that is used a lot in the “world” in which I live. The “O-Word”, or “Olympic”. For instance, when a fellow server might notice a grumpy-looking table at Dancing Bears, they’d tell me, “Just mention The “O-Word” and they’ll cheer right up!”

I’ve found this to be 100% foolproof, even in an Olympic-history-heavy town like Lake Placid. It’s astonishing how The O-Word actually demonstrates the ideal of the Games: world harmony. EVERYONE is excited to talk about the Olympics. At least, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t been excited about it. EVERYONE tells about their favorite memory, or earliest memory, or even their most painful memory in regards to the Games. Never have I mentioned the Olympics to someone only to get a confused, “Sorry? What’s that?” back (Thank goodness. I might have a heart attack the day that happens).

And so, I sat down at my iPad and keyboard and began to write. Amazingly, I didn’t do what I normally do, which is write one paragraph, stop, pace around for a bit to figure out if it was actually a good idea to start, and then sit again and write the next paragraph. I stayed at it for a good three hours, letting my mind take my pen (keyboard? fingers?) wherever it would go. There was definite “bird walking” and tangents, random anecdotes and odd facts. I even started writing about a completely new topic about 3/4 in.

Lucky for all of us, not all of it made the final draft. There was a paragraph detailing my admiration for American Sweetheart and US Swimming phenom Missy Franklin’s humility and normalcy. There was disgust over how Marion Jones let me down as a young girl with her decisions regarding steroids. There was even a mention of demon ants taking over the world. Oh, wait…

I was pleasantly surprised how easily my thoughts flowed when I wrote the article. Then again, I tend to feel much more creative when I’m writing about my passions: the Olympics, soccer, theater, film to name a few.

I took a night to sleep on the piece, then came back and made some major changes to the layout before deeming it worthy. I have never sent in an important piece of writing without having it proofread by my editors (aka my Dad the infamous Red Pen Wielder, or my eldest brother David, no slouch in writing himself) so I surprised myself when I checked my own work and sent it in without anyone else reading it.

I am very happy with how it came out. I’m so happy that it seems to have been received with positive reviews, and I’m so humbled by the amount of praise I received from my teammates, family and friends. I truly enjoyed writing it (shout out to @mcguire_bobsled for the help deciphering huge numbers) and I love that you love it!

Click here to read The “O-Word” in all its original glory on the USBSF home page!

Oh! And I guess you’ve noticed that I actually have a WEBSITE now! That’s thanks to my super awesome roommate and training partner Haley Sive. She’s a genius. It looks incredible and it’s not even finished! I bow before her. I am not worthy. I still don’t think I know what a widget is…

Cheers, you lovely people you!

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