It's snowed more this year than it has since 2011 when we had three blizzards in the span of a week or ten days. By the end of the second blizzard, there were snow banks as tall as me at the end of our driveway. I'm 5'11 1/2" which isn't NBA proportions but I'm also not short by any means. The snow banks this year, so far, after this week of four storms, is only about four or four and a half feet high. (It's snowing as I type this post so who knows how high the banks will be by the end of the holiday weekend.)
Anyway, with all this snow, while I've had my limit of seeing it, feeling it and removing it, I have developed an efficiency in how I clear my driveway, the walkway and the front and rear paths to my home. Two snow storms back, there was more wet snow and, consequently, a lot more ice. While clearing our driveway, my wife shoveled and I removed the mini (and some not so mini) ice boulders that the snow plows left behind. I successfully tossed about nine or ten of them (no joke) in a row into a gap, about two by two feet, at the top of the hedge separating my driveway and my neighbor's. I felt like a point guard shooting mini-jumper after mini-jumper and making it each time.
So, this got me thinking and with it being a Winter Olympics year and being someone with an Olympic connection (I tried out for a spot on the 2000 US Handball Team), I came up with my own version of the Winter Games. To be honest, it's more World's Strongest Man than Olympics, but it was fun thinking up the events and helped make the back-breaking task of shoveling yet again less physically, mentally and emotionally painful.
So, here are the events of my Winter Games. Feel free to comment and add your own.
1. Shoveling Events: These can be divided into categories with shovels of different sizes (shaft length, shovel width and shovel depth). There can be contests for speed, amount of snow carried in a single scoop, endurance, distance (how far and how much is retained at the finish line) and, of course, a shovel snow toss.
2. Obstacle Course: This can, of course, be exactly what it is; some kind of race, with snow in a shovel (or some other carrier) through an obstacle course. This can also and alternately be a test of how clean a person and, in a separate event, a team can clear a driveway or parking lot in a given time with a given set of tools.
3. Ice Toss: This can have multiple versions. Boulders created by snow plows, in varying shapes and sizes, can be thrown for distance and accuracy. In another event, the Summer Games Athletics event Shot Put can be duplicated in the winter with puts made of ice. Now, all joking aside, how cool - pun intended - would that be? Same technique, same type of shot circle, just in the snow with orbs of ice.
4. Snow/Slush Push: This is more like the World's Strongest Men event in which contestants are strapped to a Toyota or single decker bus and they pull it as far as they can. In this event, each contestant is given a shovel and upon a "Go!" signal has to push as much of the wet snow as far as he or she can.
So, while I enjoy the winter for the cooler temps and, of course, for Christmas and my son's joy at playing in the snow, speaking as a fuddy-duddy grown up, I've had enough. I could always move to another state and town but, really, wherever one goes there's always going to be something; earthquakes in California, sand storms in Arizona, constant and torrential rain in Oregon. So, as the snow falls and coats my car and steps yet again and as I watch the Sochi Winter Olympics, I dream of the club pool and our annual vacation to Montauk. I think of wearing shorts and a t-shirt and getting tanned. And I actually yearn for the insufferable heat, with affection, knowing I can get relief when I come home and turn on the aircon.