With the Olympics underway, I felt that it was only fitting to share my families own version of the Olympics. Each year, we have our annual family reunion, known as the Lineberry Olympics. We rotate to different locations each year. This year, it was held at The Villages, a city-sized retirement community in Florida where the residents prefer to travel by golf cart.
I was nervous about the family Olympics this year. Last year at the Olympics, I was in perfect health. I was fully physically able. Since so much has changed within the past year, I wondered how my new life would fit into the event.
We play different "games" each year. There is one staple game, which seems to stick and that is the "Sprinkle Splash," where you race from one line to the other with a cup of water balanced on your forehead. As you can see from some of the photos belows, the race gets pretty intense and often times, it's a close photo finish.
Going into the event day, I was sure that I would not be participating in most of the competitions. But after getting through the morning without being in horrible pain, I decided to give all of the events a shot. For the Sprinkle Splash, I started off in the lead with my cane by my side, but my cup of water fell off my head halfway through, and I watched the others crossed the finish line.
There was an obstacle course this year, where we had to stop at three stations to complete a task - first, by naming the capital of a state that was pulled from a bucket; second, by threading a needle; and third, by placing several shapes into a shape sorter. Each person had one minute to complete the course. I was able to finish it in 59:59 seconds. That right ... .01 second before the limit.
This was a proud moment for me since many people didn't complete the course, including my husband. I'm trying my best not to rub it in his face that his disabled wife was able to beat him.
We played other, less-physical games that involved scooping coins out of ice cold water using our feet, throwing balls through a hula hoop, card shark and another game where we "rolled" out small pigs like dice for a point system game.
The reunion includes several branches of the family. I have to say, It's possible that I married into the most fun family ever. This is an event that I look forward to each year. It's not only a chance to catch up with family we don't often get to see, but it's a chance to get away and have a great time.
I didn't win any medals this year, but my 11-year-old won 3 medals and my 3-year-old also won 3 medals. Since the games include more than 100 people, getting a medal is not easy to do. But the children (up to 11 years) have their own version of the games. It's so hard to believe that my oldest son will be considered an "adult" at next year's games. He's still a baby in my eyes.
It is such a joy to watch my children stand up on the podium and receive a medal ... it's something I enjoy more than receiving a medal for myself. Our youngest is just 16 months old, so he was not interested in playing any 'official' games. But if there was an event for "running around with a ball in your hands," he would have received the gold, for sure.
At least now I know that, despite my physical set backs, I can still be involved and compete in the Olympics -- just knowing that gives me strength.
In my mind, I received a gold medal just for making it there and being able to compete. Finishing the obstacle course in a faster time than my husband was certainly the cherry on top :-)
Check out this Columbia Star article, which was written about the event in 2008: