Pine Nuts: My Olympic romance | SierraSun.com
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Pine Nuts: My Olympic romance

With the Olympic Games upon us, I feel compelled to confess, in full, to a lapse of moral judgement that long ago cost yours truly an Olympic berth. This true confession comes with a caveat to young athletes who aspire to compete in the Games, “Don’t do as I did.”

It all started with a high school assembly, when newly minted Olympic Decathlon Champion Rafer Johnson spoke to our student body. He was an inspirational speaker, and he planted in my feverish brain a resolve to be an Olympic athlete. Forget Doctor, lawyer or Indian Chief, I was determined to be an Olympian.

But the Olympic motto, “Higher Faster, Stronger,” was not me. The only chance I had was springboard diving, and the only distinction I had in that sport was missing the pool as a clown diver. Yes, I landed on my feet unhurt in front of an audience that sucked-up all available air in one collective gasp, and I ended up in the principal’s office.



Still, I practiced and practiced, until I did finally qualify to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Trials in Fort Worth, Texas, where I arrived a couple days early to try out the diving boards. Assessing them to be perfect for what I had in mind, I headed for New Orleans to kill some time … bad judgement.

Arriving in the Crescent City at ten in the morning I stopped at the Absinthe Bar for some scrambled eggs and a beer …bad judgment number two. I was the only person in the place aside from the barkeep and a girl my own collage age, who was dancing alone on an empty stage. Well my mother taught me not to stare, but I think I did. Suddenly she was sitting next to me, and asked, “Live around here?”



“No, Ma’am, just passing through.”

“Well, I get off after one more set, would you like to share a beignet?”

“I don’t know what that is exactly, but yes, I think I might.” …bad judgement number three.

We walked to her place a few doors down where she put on some Mardi Gras music, and we started dancing, fast at first, then somewhat slower…bad judgment number four.

I did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games, I barely made it back to Fort Worth in time for the trials.

There’s a moral to this story, and I guess my message to America’s young athletes who aspire to compete in the Olympic Games is simply this, “stay the course.” Do not yield to distractions, and above all, before you compete in the Olympic Trials, however close you may be at the time, do not drive to New Orleans for breakfast.

I ask you to bear in mind the important truth about competing in the Olympics: It is not in the winning, but in the participating. And lastly, it’s not competing in the Olympic race that counts, but competing in the human race. That’s where the fulfillment is to be found — Higher Faster, Stronger!

Audio: https://anchor.fm/mcavoy-layne

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com


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