April 19, 2011

You Can Take the Bobsledder Off the Farm, But… - by Curt Tomasevicz

I’ve heard a thousand jokes made at my expense because I can say, with quite a bit of certainty, that I am one of a very few, if not the only, bobsledder that hails from the state of Nebraska.

I grew up in a typical small town (Shelby) near the center of the state right in the middle of “corn country”. My teammates joke about being me being “corn-fed” and, in their minds, I drove a tractor to school every day when I was in high school. They don’t know of small-town street dances or know of a community without a stoplight, let alone a whole county without one (there isn’t a stoplight in all of Polk County). But little do they know how much my “corn roots” are still a part of my life.

The bobsled season consists of a competitive World Cup season from October through March. And our heavy off-season training runs from early or mid-May through September. So that leaves the month of April for some downtime was well as time for amateur athletes to try to receive an income to help with funding for the rest of the year. So what else would a small-town Nebraska kid do for work in the month April? Farm work, of course!

I’ve been great friends with Phil Hall, a seed-corn farmer near Thayer, Nebraska, for over a decade. Each spring I spend a number of days helping Phil prepare for planting season. This year I spent a couple days helping empty some bins and a few days stalk-chopping several hundred acres. I know this line of work is far from my education in electrical engineering. But I’ve found that I really like the ten hours of solitude in the tractor plowing along. I can’t say that I am cut out to be a farmer year-round, but when it comes time to get my hands dirty, I don’t hesitate to give Phil a hand.

I know that my few days in the field are far from being able to call myself a corn farmer, but I took pride in the fact that, when one of my bobsled teammates called me to discuss some off-season training plans, I surprised him when I said that I would have to call him back when I had a chance to turn off the 8100 John Deere tractor that I was driving.

In my mind, it certainly beats waiting tables part-time like he is doing to earn money for his off-season job. It just goes to show that you can take the bobsledder off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the bobsledder - I think I’ve heard that saying somewhere…

No comments:

Post a Comment