November 15, 2013

An Alternative Sport By: Curt Tomasevicz

Just like every kid, my answer to the common question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” changed every couple of months. I remember that, for a short period when I was about 8, I was determined to be the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs. When I was about 10, there was a time when I wanted to be an airplane pilot. I spent some of my middle school years wanting to drive a John Deere tractor and be a corn farmer. If you would have asked me at other times, I might have answered with an astronaut, a golf course designer, or even a major league umpire. In high school, I found that I enjoyed math and physics. So I thought when I grew up, I would apply those likes to yet another career; engineering. I also happened to work for an electrician part-time, so electrical engineering made sense as a career choice. (Note that at no time while growing up, would I have answered that I wanted to be a bobsledder!)

It’s amazing how many times in life we change our minds. One minute we are passionate about one thing, only to fall in love with something else the next minute. It is part of human nature to wonder how green the grass really is on the other side of the fence.

The other day at the lunch table at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as I was eating with some other athletes, the conversation turned toward a game of “alternate sports”. Seated at the table with me was a fencer, a couple of wrestlers, a triathlete, a couple of weight lifters, and a figure skater. With that variety of athletes at the table, it is probably easy for you to imagine how numerous the athletes’ desires were to play other sports.

Since this was a conversation based on hypotheticals, all the answers would have required major training, change in muscle type, and body alterations that are simply not possible. The triathlete wanted to be a weightlifter, simply to know what it felt like to hold 500 pounds off the ground. The weight lifter wanted to compete in a sport which allowed him to see the sunlight every once in a while. And the figure skater said he was tired of competing in a ‘judged’ sport that depended on the opinion of an official, he wanted to compete against a clock or a scoreboard.

I’ve thought about my answer for a while. Even though I love the sport of bobsledding, I think that if I were able to change my mind and pick another Olympic sport, I would definitely choose a summer sport. It may surprise some people, but I really don’t like the cold. I’d rather go to the beach than the mountains. So my new sport would have to be an outdoor summer sport. As a personal rule, I really don’t like any sport where I have time to think about how much pain I’m in. So I don’t want to run or swim long distances. Endurance sports are not an option. I really like power and explosive sports and games. And I also like technical sports that require practicing and perfecting technique and form.

So I’ve concluded that in a fantasy world of alternate sports where changing your mind at any time is allowed, I would… (suspenseful pause)…throw a javelin. But I’m sure that after a few sunburns and elbow injuries, I’d wish that I was able to go back to the cold weather sport of wearing spandex and a helmet while racing a bobsled at 90+ miles per hour just on the edge of out-of-control.

What would you want to do if you could change your mind?...

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