Boomer Girl Diary: Never too late to set a world record
I want a WR. You know what I’m talking about, right? I want a world record next to my name for all of eternity.
Seems I’ve become so jaded watching the profuseness of excellence on the Olympics (except for Ryan Seacrest and those “Today” show ninnies who get more ridiculous and fawning by the minute) that unless someone wins the gold AND sets a WR, I’m all like, “Meh.”
Let’s face it: American records and Olympic records are cool, but the WORLD record is where it’s at, sports fans. Until the Martian contingent descends from the sky instead of Mary Poppinses, and joins the march of athletes, you can’t do better than a WR.
But what can I do to earn my WR? I’m too old for Olympic sport. Except, perhaps, equestrian events.
Did you know that the oldest woman to compete in the Olympics was equestrian Lorna Johnstone, who may actually be related to me since my maiden name is Johnstone minus the ‘e’? Lorna, a Brit, was 70 years and 5 days old when she participated in Mixed Dressage at the 1972 Olympics. She may not have won a medal, but she earned a WR just by virtue of her advanced age.
If only it were that easy. First, I’m only 56. Second, if I look like a weight-lifter in skinny jeans, how the heck am I going to pull off jodhpurs? And, third, my track record with the equine set is not exactly golden.
My childhood was peppered with traumatic horse-related incidences: Pony rides at the zoo that drove me to tears, trail rides on vacation that rendered me incontinent. (That was 1969. I was 14. My horse bolted off in the wrong direction, down the mountain, with me hanging onto the saddle horn for dear life. To this day, I cringe to think that the cute, hippie cowboy who rescued me may have caught a glimpse of my soaked Wranglers.)
Then there was the second date with my future husband, some 37 years ago. It was supposed to be a Sunday afternoon of “horseback riding” when, having informed the stable keeper of my inexperience, I ended up atop “Big Dude,” a lovable but stubborn gelding with a potbelly and a gait best described as statue-like.
“Come on, Big Dude! Get up, boy. Here we go!” I cried, while my new beau galloped like Little Joe across a Eudora pasture.
I tried everything: Flattery. Cajoling. Bribes. The Dude didn’t budge. I even threatened to call my Uncle Ned at Borden.
“That’s the company that makes the glue, fella. You think Elmer the Bull is smiling because he’s next in line at the factory? He knows they won’t slaughter the mascot. Now giddy the hell up, ya big lug!!”
I would later learn that glue is not made from horses, but from an emulsion of petrochemical by-products. But Big Dude didn’t know that. He took a couple dozen steps down the trail — “Yeeeeee-haw! Here we go!!” — then froze in his tracks for the rest of the hour.
So, I guess Equestrian won’t work. And let’s go ahead and rule out any sport that involves bikinis, leotards or Spandex in any shape or form.
That, of course, leaves fencing.
At first glace, there’s much to love about fencing. The outfits are amply concealing, although that little straight jacket with the strap under the crotch might prove problematic when dashing to the loo. (Maybe that’s what the sabre is for, huh?) On the other hand, I’d have gloves to hide my age-spotted hands and a mask that makes makeup moot. Bonus!
And, as far as I can tell from TV, the sport itself is easy breezy. You simply strike a pose, wiggle your foil and try not to get poked. For me, that’s a Friday night.
This year, the oldest female fencer on Team USA, at 32, is Maya Lawrence. If I start practicing now, I can join the 2016 team at the ripe old age of 60. I’ll get my WR, for sure. They may even ask me to carry Old Glory!
En garde and touché, everyone! See you in Rio!