Winter Olympics for the Rest of Us

The Olympics grew as a way to display prowess in abilities valued in ancient times for survival and dominance. Today, athletes compete by moving faster and farther, over a variety of terrains, and doing it with great artistry. Not to take anything away from the incredible athletes participating in the Olympics in Sochi, but most people don’t do much cross country skiing or ice dancing, let alone speed skating or bobsledding. But this extraordinary winter may be a good time to think about some more practical winter sports we can all participate in. Like these:

Shoveling Events

Sidewalk shovel. Participants must shovel ten-inches of snow from a fifty yard long, three-foot wide sidewalk. Fastest time wins but an inspector from the Public Works Department can impose penalties for any remaining patches of snow or ice.

Driveway shovel. Participants must clear a twenty-foot wide, fifty-foot long driveway of ten-inches of snow. Every few minutes a plow drives by and dumps three-foot high piles of snow at the driveway entrance. Fastest time wins but the event requires a strategy for where to start shoveling.

Walking Events

Panic Shop. Participants must acquire a list of items from stores in the host city. Some items are common, like milk and rock salt. Other items are a bit more exotic, like generators and chainsaws. Fastest time and lowest expenditure are combined in an arcane formula even the judges don’t understand.

Grocery Carry. Participants must carry two twenty-five pound, paper bags full of groceries across a one hundred yard parking lot. The lot is ice covered and cars are driving around looking for open parking spaces. Fastest time wins but points are deducted for any damage to the groceries.

Building Events

Snowman Manufacture. Participants have thirty minutes to create as many snowmen as possible. The winner is determined based on the number, sizes, and diversity of snowmen as judged by a team of expert playground monitors.

Snow Sculpture. Participants have two hours to create a snow sculpture. Sculptures are judged on size, artistry, detail, and creative use of yellow snow.

Team Events

Commuter Crawl. Each team consists of six members. One member of each team begins at one of the six designated starting locations ten miles from the center of the host city. Any mode of transportation is allowed but points are deducted for vehicles that use fossil fuels, except for public transportation. The first team to have all their members reach Center City wins depending on points deducted for their choice of transportation method.

Capture the Parking Space. Each team must clear an inner-city parking space and defend it against people looking for parking spaces some of whom are not aware of the game. Teams also try to commandeer parking spaces from other teams. Snowballs are the only weapons allowed. The team with the most parking spaces at the end of 24-hours wins.

So whether you live in Boston or Atlanta (at least this year), you can participate in our own version of the Winter Olympics. What’s your signature event?


February 3 2014 019

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