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(Non-)Olympic Moments?

You would have to have your head totally in the sand not to know that the Olympics are going on. We've followed the first week and a half far more than we thought we would, but the remaining events really aren't our faves.

Undoubtedly the dominant name has been Michael Phelps. The mainstream media has proclaimed him "the greatest athlete of all time" and the debate will rage on until the next "greatest athete of all time" comes along. Michael has definitely achieved wonderful feats in a very tough sport and seems himself to have a good attitude of humility, but there are still many who are asking, "Well, what about __ (fill in the name of their favorite sports figure)?! Is Michael really a greater athlete than __?!"

I found a terrific comic online this morning that I want to share:

Michael Phelps' dominance

For today's iv, I'm sharing two stories - one funny and one thought-provoking - about some runners, Olympic or not.


Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house an older woman was looking out her kitchen window, watching the two men as they checked her gas meter.

Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one.

As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong.

Gasping for breath, she replied, "When I saw two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better run too!"


In the late 1990s at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with determination to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry, slowed down, and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them.

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. More important than winning for ourselves in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.


A friend told me that, upon reading my last post about becoming empty-nesters, he thought it sounded like I was saying, "Well, life's all over ... now we can die." I laughed and told him, "Far from it! Let me tell you about Friday of last week...." My wife and I decided to take the day off and "head for the hills" for the day to do some of our favorite things - a last hurrah before my teacherly duties began this week. We headed to Flat Rock, NC, to a shop called The Wrinkled Egg. That day we weren't interested in the shop as much as in the new barbecue place right behind it. It's called Hubba Hubba, and let me tell you - HUBBA! HUBBA! We definitely found a new favorite - or as my wife Becka put it, "yet another reason to go to Flat Rock!" We picked up a cranberry-apricot scone at the bakery in the back of the Wrinkled Egg for dessert/mid-afternoon snack and headed for Carl Sandburg's house. We didn't want to tour the house on this trip - we just wanted to see how this year's baby goats were doing. We took the hike to where the goats are kept and enjoyed petting them. Here's a picture of Connemara (the Sandburg's house) and a picture of Becka with several of the kids.

pic of Connemara

Becka and three baby goats

After that we headed to a quilting shop Becka really likes in Hendersonville. What a nice place - they have an area with rocking chairs and magazines for husbands! I had actually brought along my own entertainment a Sudoku book to pass the time pleasantly, warding off dementia while Becka touched every bit of fabric in the place (of which there is a lot!) After that we went to Lyda farms to get some produce and some early apples. From there we headed off to the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC, to go to Sliding Rock. It was really crowded, and so I had to wait in line for about a half hour before I could slide down the rock into the 55 degree water in the pool at the bottom. Below is a 10 second video clip of Sliding Rock (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers).

Here's a picture of me ready to begin my trip down the rock...

Rob on Sliding Rock

The line was even longer by that time and we had some other things we wanted to do, so I changed into warm, dry clothes, and away we went!

On the way back to Brevard, we stopped at the ranger station across the road from the Davidson River Campground. They have done a lot of renovation on the ranger station, and there's a lot for children to enjoy inside. One thing we enjoyed outside the ranger station was watching hummingbirds visit their two feeders. After that, we went shopping at four different stores in Brevard (and bought something in each) before having dinner at the Pisgah Fish Camp. While eating dinner we decided to drive back to the ranger station to take some pictures of the hummingbirds - something we hadn't thought to do earlier.

There were even more hummingbirds when we went back than there had been earlier. And the hummingbirds actually flew right up close to us to check us out! Here's a little video footage of their activity (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers). Sorry for the talking in the background - Becka's on the phone with one of our daughters telling her all about it.

After that, we drove back to Greenville. Now does that sound like two people whose lives are all done and are now ready to die?! 😀

I can't figure out a way to work up a poll question to get at the following - have you decided to and actually gone ahead and tried out any of the activities and/or places that I've written about in the past several years on my blog? If so, which one/s? Since it's impossible to structure as a multiple choice poll question, please just tell about it in the comments to this post.


"What you live for and base your decisions on has the greatest effect on your children." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have become really good friends.

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12 Comments on “(Non-)Olympic Moments?”

  1. #1 Laura
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 12:53 am

    What a fun day, sounds like something I would like to do. And I love Sudoku. To Rob, the lover of words, it really is Sudoku, not Suduko. Ask my Japanese friends. You have to look quickly or you might miss the hummingbirds.

  2. #2 Bet
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 6:18 am

    I will definitely be trying out Hubba Hubba! I love the Wrinkled Egg already–what could be better than a barbecue place behind it? 🙂

    Last fall I followed your suggestion to check out Lyda Farms for apples. I’d always gone to Skytop before. I still think I like Skytop better just for the experience and the location. But Lyda was cheaper! I’m hoping the apple crop will be much better this year than last.

    I WOULD NOT go down Sliding Rock! But I’m glad you had fun.

  3. #3 Rob
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 6:31 am

    Thanks for the correction, Laura! I’ve fixed it on the blog – sorry I can’t recall all the e-mails or feeds to blog readers.

    The day was a blast! We fit SO much into it, but it was totally relaxing and enjoyable. We did almost all of our favorite things in that part of the world and actually added two new favorites – the barbecue place and seeing over a dozen hummingbirds swarming at the same time! The barbecue is repeatable, but the hummers? We’ll see.

    Maybe next time you visit us, we could repeat the day with you! Think about it, OK? 🙂

    We remember you where you serve Him. Give our love to J & M.

  4. #4 Rob
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Bet, I love Sliding Rock! When we left Friday morning, I was not thinking we would go that far, so I didn’t prepare for it. Becka told me Megan asked if I would be doing Sliding Rock, and I turned around to get a change of clothes at home! I think you would like it too if you tried it out. We’ve taken so many people there through the years and I can’t think of anyone who didn’t enjoy the experience.

    I remember your blogging about Lyda after your visit there. That’s another place we’ve gone for years. We were sad to read in the obits this year that Rome Lyda had passed away. Nice people, and great produce!

  5. #5 Patty
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Go, Becka! I can totally relate to going to a fabric shop and having to touch every piece of fabric. Aaaahhh! A vacation is just not complete without finding a fabric shop to explore. We have some fabulous ones up here in PA – let me know when you’re in this neck of the woods, and I’ll go with you. I’m not sure about rocking chairs, but one does have a Little Tykes picnic table and toys to keep children (and hubbies) entertained while you shop. 🙂

  6. #6 Dave
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 8:28 am

    I will be trying out that restaurant, and I’ve always wanted to visit Carl Sandburg’s home.

    Now…about the most important topic in this post…I agree with people that Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time…greatest athlete? Very debatable. I can’t find it in my heart to place him above Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, and especially Muhammad Ali (and many other boxers too). But that’s just my opinion 🙂

  7. #7 Brian
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I’ve been to Sliding rock before! It was a blast, only I went in late October or early November so you can imagine just how much colder the water felt. It was a stag outing with my society and I was known as the screamer. It was soooo cold!

  8. #8 Doodie
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Years ago my husband and I visited Sliding Rock. I stood in the icy water long enough that my feet numbed and I couldn’t feel how cold the water was. Keith got up the nerve to slide down, and when he hit the pool below, he came up smiling and waving: “C’mon in! It’s not that bad!” He lied. When I hit the water, my breath was taken away–I don’t think I’ve ever quite forgiven him (I hate being cold). I love reading about the places you visit, and when we visit Greenville, we’ll certainly try to fit them into our schedule.

  9. #9 Michael
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    First of all, Michael Jordan is the best athlete of my lifetime to this point. (Note how I had to qualify that.) It does seem that as a society we are more and more desirous of living during the time of the greatest athlete, or the worst economy, or the most freedom, or whatever it is. I guess we want immediate gratification for our desire to know if the times we live in will be relevant once we are gone. The only problem is, you need time in order to determine perspective and relevance. So, no, Michael Phelps is not the greatest athlete of all time. He’s a great swimmer, but can he do anything else? Michael Jordan was a great basketball player, but he was mediocre at baseball, and is all right at golf. Guys like Jim Thorpe and Jim Brown are more likely to be greater athletes since they excelled at multiple sports.

    As for the places you went and the things you did, I have been to the Carl Sandburg House, but I was just a little kid at the time and did not appreciate what I was seeing. I’ve driven by The Wrinkled Egg but have never stopped. I guess I should stop in. And, I’m definitely intrigued by Hubba Hubba. I like a good barbecue place. I do enjoy going to Hendersonville. My wife especially enjoys going because of the shops there (like A Day in the Country and Dish Barn). Glad you and your wife had such a great time. And, I know you too well to think that you were giving up on life. You may feel like it’s beginning again.

  10. #10 Rob
    on Aug 19th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Patty, I forwarded your comment on to my wife. She’s always happy to find others with her appreciation for fiber.

    Dave and Michael, I predict that you will really like the barbecue at Hubba-Hubba. We want to try their barbecue chicken next time. The pork was really good, and the buns were not just the standard hamburger bun you get at other places. They were out of this world themselves! I also agree with you both concerning how debatable it is that Michael Phelps is the greatest athlete of all time. From the looks of the poll on my blog, the preponderance of my readers are weighing in against the media’s coronation of him to that status. Great, yes … greatest, not necessarily.

    Brian, I’ve actually done Sliding Rock even more “off season” than you have – I hate to disclose exactly how off season it was lest people think I’m even crazier than they already do! The water temp is actually pretty constant year round, but the ambient temp definitely makes a difference! Brrrr!

    Doodie, forgive your husband. He just wanted you to share in his exquisite delight in one of the Lord’s natural gifts to mankind in this neck of the woods. 🙂 I didn’t say it in my blog post, but there were people I didn’t know cheering for me as I approached that pool of cool water last Friday. I guess the sight of a geezer doing Sliding Rock just warmed their hearts?

    Michael, my wife also likes Dish Barn and a Day in the Country, but we had to prioritize our activities on what was already a packed day.

  11. #11 Lynnette
    on Aug 29th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I grew up in East Flat Rock and Hendersonville. One of my good friends growing up raises chickens and they found a wrinkled egg in one of their nesting boxes. I believe the Wrinkled Egg will pay you if you bring one in. I’ve been to the Carl Sandburg Home, although not since my childhood. 🙂

  12. #12 Rob
    on Aug 29th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Lynnette, I wonder if wrinkled eggs is some sort of mutation the chickens in that part of the world suffer from….