How To Get To The Olympics
Warning: This will most likely have very little to do with shidduchim. I will make metaphors where I can and they will likely make no sense. I just want to talk about gymnastics.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Also take the ACDE or 1 to Columbus Circle and walk east 3 blocks.
But the point is that nothing good is ever made without effort. To be Carnegie Hall level, or Olympic level means you've put in the time and effort, the 10,000 hours and more. If you are young, your parents have spent enough on gas to buy a boat.
These girls work through school and injuries and every possible obstacle to get to the Olympics, the ultimate dream.
Only 6 (this year anyway, the numbers keep changing) are chosen.
I went to day school for 12 years and then 3 years at a Jewish college. I put in my time at shul and at shiurim. I kept the Kosher and the tznius and the boy/girl stuff.
Is a wedding my Olympics? And, if only six girls are chosen have I missed my spot?
There are some girls who seem destined to go to the Olympics. 2012 Olympian Kyla Ross was one of those. She was junior national champion multiple times and had what the commentators called the "Olympic Look"-long lines, great execution, consistency.
2012 came and Kyla did her job and qualified as one of the top girls in the US, earning her a spot at the Olympics.
Then there are girls like Morgan Hurd.
Morgan Hurd was everyone's favorite, the gymnast with the expressive dance and personality who wore glasses while competing. She rose from a level 10 to a junior elite who made it onto the national team. In 2017 she was a surprise member of the Worlds team and when a teammate got injured, she stepped up and did something no one expected her to do: became World Champion. She also snagged a silver on beam.
In 2018 she qualified for the Worlds team and came in third in the all around, helped Team USA win gold, got sixth on bars and silver on floor.
Then 2019 came around and Morgan struggled with injuries and did not make the worlds team.
2020 she won the American Cup-a comeback meet for her, proving she was in the hunt to make the Olympic team.
Corona, etc. More injuries. Morgan didn't even make it to Olympic Trials after she fell on beam 5 times at nationals.
Kyla Ross. Morgan Hurd. Both had what it takes to make it all the way and one did and one didn't.
I think a lot about when I was in high school and used to sit on the couch with friends and wonder who would get married first. Back then, we all looked like Kyla Ross and Morgan Hurd did early in their careers. There was nothing that could stop us from getting to our weddings.
But then: life. School. Jobs. Families. Hashkafa. Reputations. Emotional Injuries.
Some girls made it to the Olympics anyway. Some girls weren't Kyla Ross or Morgan Hurd, they were Jordan Chiles, 2021 Olympian who has never been to Worlds before. She was made alternate in 2017 and an unofficial alternate in 2018. In 2019 she looked underprepared and unfocused and wasn't even in the top ten. And then Corona. And then Jordan showed up in 2021 and hit every routine from February on to place in the top 3 in the country at every meet including Olympic Trials and secure her spot.
I wanted my journey to be Kyla Ross. Sometimes I think it's Morgan Hurd. But I'm hoping one day I'll see it's Jordan Chiles. Jordan Chiles who in 2018 considered quitting gymnastics and is now an Olympian.
But, what happens after the Olympics, or in my metaphor, the wedding?*
For Kyla Ross helping the team get the gold medal by performing in team finals on bars and beam wasn't enough. She wanted individual success. She went to Worlds the next year and got silver in all around, bars, and beam. She went the next year and helped the team earn gold and secured herself a bronze medal in the all around.
The next year she had a growth spurt and tried to upgrade her routines and ended up retiring. She went and had a successful college gymnastics career, helping UCLA to win the national title in 2018 and winning many individual awards for herself.
Morgan hasn't quite figured out what she is doing now that her Olympic dream is over. She will go on tour with Simone Biles in the fall and will compete for the University of Florida. She also has been speaking out publicly against Asian racism and is featured on a commercial as an advocate for peace.
Jordan is going to the Olympics and getting all the fame and glory that comes with that. And then she will have to live her life after the Olympics, the same way Kyla Ross had to.
Every girl finds out that the Olympics aren't everything and that for those who don't make it there are ways to be happy and become a fully developed person with new dreams . For those who make it, they often feel like they are just trying to get back to that feeling of being there.
I want to get to the Olympics and I wanted it to be simple. But it hasn't been simple at all, it has been 6.5 years of praying and false starts and hurt and anger.
It doesn't mean I don't have a chance. But I can perhaps also refocus and get to the Olympics without actually getting to the Olympics.
At the end of the day what if the Olympics is just being fulfilled? What if Kyla Ross's real Olympics was when she began to coach other girls and realized her potential there? What if Morgan Hurd's Olympics is speaking out for a cause she believes in?
I want a wedding. An Olympic themed wedding. But mostly I want to be fulfilled. And if I have to take a longer route to get there because that's what will assure that I am fulfilled at the end of this journey, I'll take it.
After all, who doesn't love a good comeback story?
*Don't read the aside below if you enjoy this blog for appropriate content
So what DOES happen after a wedding or Olympics? Sex. Lots and lots of sex. I know married people have sex because I've met their children. Every year the Olympic committee gives the athletes goody bags filled with everything they could possibly need. This includes-and prepare yourself-TWO condoms per DAY per ATHLETE. And EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. There are massive condom shortages and they have to send in trucks. TRUCKS. Just filled to the brim with condoms. When you work for something your whole life and you either get it or you don't you are going to have some steam to burn off. Combine that with being surrounded by the literally most physically fit people in the world and yeah. You're going to need a condom truck.