I follow USBSF (United States Bobsled & Skeleton Federation) on Twitter. For a few years when I was a teenager, my dad and I spent almost every winter’s weekend volunteering at various sporting events – mostly sliding (bobsled, luge, skeleton) in Lake Placid. I learned to love the sports then, especially skeleton. My favorite event was the one where I had the job of cleaning the sliders’ shoes before they went down the track – any debris attached to their spikes could interfere with their starting run, and slow them down or even throw them off. I was so nervous at first that I wasn’t going to do it properly, but I soon got the hang of it, and LOVED it – being there at the start with them, feeling all professional, like I was really an important part of things!
(Usually I got stuck with parking lot duty. Important, but boring.)
I even got to clean Jimmy Shea’s shoes that competition – now that’s not something everyone can say!
As you know, I’m a figure skater. But there is something thrilling about the sliding sports. One of my dreams is to someday go down a track on a skeleton sled. I’ve seen it with my own eyes – I’ve heard the whoosh of the runners biting into the ice – I’ve felt the excitement build at the start of the track as the sliders prepare themselves and then take off – I’ve been at the bottom when they come in, still buzzed from the adrenaline rush. And yes, I’ve seen enough crashes to know how dangerous it can be. I don’t really care. I still want to try someday, just once.
I remembered that again today when USBSF mentioned about the sleds sounding like bullets going down the track in St Moritz. I replied to them, saying I wanted to experience that someday. They said? Absolutely must try sometime!
I don’t look like your typical thrill-seeker, and there’s a lot of things I won’t try – I’m not even a big fan of roller coasters. But I don’t know, something about skeleton, it just makes me want to throw off my inhibitions and toss caution to the wind.
(I also want to do this someday, but both my father and husband panic every time I mention it –