Dear U.S. Olympic Ski Team:

Congratulations on an outstanding Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. And hey, that 22-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was impressive on the giant slalom. Well done.

I just have one minor complaint to register: Why did you leave me off the team? I contacted you last summer, telling you I wanted to try out for the men’s freestyle aerials or half pipe or any alpine event you guys thought might attract babes. But nobody ever replied to my text message – which by the way I typed in ALL CAPS to get your attention.

I have to say, your decision to leave me off the roster is confounding. I demand an explanation. When I attempted to get on the team plane for PyeongChang, one of your staffers refused to let me board. I must say he was very discourteous, even after I flashed him a crisp new Benjamin to let me get past.

I demand to know why you refused to let me compete with the rest of the skiers. Was it because I’m 63 years old, and the next oldest competitor was 37? News flash: I checked, and age discrimination is totally against the law. Besides, I may be over 60, but sometimes I use Grecian Formula (dark brown), making me look closer to 50.

Was it because you learned I was married to a Canadian and you questioned my loyalties? Or were you worried my wife would get into a cat fight with the American women’s hockey players? Or maybe you learned about my humor writing and worried I might write a sophomoric column which would create an international incident. I doubt I’d do that (although I confess I’ve never met a South Korean figure skating judge I trusted).

Or was it the minor technicality that I failed to show up on the date of the U.S. Olympic trials last December? That’s extremely unfair. I just overslept that weekend and missed my plane to Park City, UT. I texted, asking about a make-up trial date, but nobody responded to that text either. Do you guys even read your text messages?

Or perhaps you’re going to bring up the trivial fact that I’ve never actually competed in any of the alpine events. True, but I had trained rigorously for weeks in anticipation of the Olympics. As far back as last November, I implemented an intense workout regimen to prepare me for any number of alpine events. I don’t like to brag, but I mastered several events in the video game Mario and Sonic at the Olympics Winter Games – PyeongChang 2018. I totally rocked in the ski jump competition, even beating out the computer dude from Austria.

To get my body into shape, I began a high protein diet of unsalted peanuts. I eliminated cinnamon-sugar donuts from my diet for the past three months. Every day I drank two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew Voltage because in all of their ads they showed buff dudes performing awesomely rad stunts on mountain bikes and snowboards. And another thing: in preparation for the Winter Games, I completely overcame my fear of chair lifts (they’re so high off the ground) and made enormous strides towards overcoming my fear of snow.

I can’t believe you didn’t even give me a chance to prove myself. I was 100% mentally and 65% emotionally prepared for the intense pressure of these games. I may not have been in quite the shape of some of your younger team members, but I am completely over my injury from last June when I pulled my back out getting out of the recliner after watching a ten-hour Housewives of Orange County marathon.

Sure, it’s possible I might not have been the fastest member of the squad. But whatever I may have lacked in speed, endurance, strength, flexibility, agility, sense of timing, self-discipline, work ethic, raw talent and peripheral vision, I more than made up for in heart. And isn’t heart what really matters in the end? For without a heart, all of us would be dead. There wouldn’t even be an Olympics. Besides, my cardiologist cleared me for brisk walking, and my cholesterol is down to 234.

I’m not saying I would have won the gold. I could have had an off day and missed the podium altogether. It’s possible I might have stayed up all night before my event eating pizza and playing video games and slept right through my start time. I do that sometimes. But we’ll never know for sure because you guys didn’t even give me a chance. Thanks, USOC.

You can’t possibly imagine the heartbreak I’ve suffered as a result of your unfair decision to shut me out. Does your child have hopes and dreams? If they ever want to try out for a girls’ rec soccer team, they’d better hope I’m not the coach. I would hate if their application accidentally got shredded – just like my Olympic dreams.

Perhaps I was kidding myself with my dreams of Olympic glory as a freestyle aerial skier. The more I think about it, I was always more of a luge man anyway.

Still, I’m no quitter. That’s why I’ll soon be hard at work preparing for the U.S. trials for the next Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. I can’t decide which event to try out for – pole vault or synchronized swimming. I really excel at both video game events.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook. And wish me luck as I prepare for the next Olympic Games. I feel that it just might be my year – especially if they make Angry Birds an Olympic event. I’ve already made it to level 17.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2018

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