Maddancer Blog #2: The Illinois Winter Olympics
Well, we just concluded the first Illinois Winter Olympics which were held primarily in my front yard. The most popular event was Shoveling the Driveway, the gold medal for which was won by a neighbor from down the street who cleared a vehicle path in 12 minutes, 34 seconds – a new record. I took the silver and had a shot at the gold until I fell down and, knowing I had lost, began practicing for the snow angel event.
My friend F. Johnston was a double winner – taking home the gold for Bradley in two events – Car Jumpstarting (16 vehicles in 42 minutes) and Snow Writing (the entire Declaration of Indepen-dence in one burst — some credit must go to the six beers consumed moments before).
The Sand and Cardboard Under the Tires event went to M. Leppert of Kankakee who managed to get an entire refrigerator box and three buckets of sand under a 1994 Toyota Corolla.
Our only serious injury was to D. Rapier who won the gold in Cold Pole Tongue Sticking, but had to have the paramedics cut him free – yes, the tip of the tongue is still there.
There was quite a controversy over the Scraping a Windshield with a Credit Card event when J. Carter one of the younger contestants was found to be using a CD case.
As always, quite a crowd gathered for the Sidewalk Ice Dancing event, which was a thing of beauty. The winner, B. Rashkin performed to the music of Sade’s Smooth Operator. C. Erickson’s dance to Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love drew rave reviews from some but was too controversial for most judges.
The Icicle Whack was won by J. Simmone who sent a two foot Stalactite soaring fifteen feet over the trashcans and into the neighbor’s yard (actually into the neighbor’s small dog, which recovered once placed in a warm environment).
There were several injuries on the Icy Front Steps Climb but none seriously and three contestants did actually make it to the front door.
There was a touching family story when G. Reynolds won The Trashcan Chase and his wife Cathy took the gold in Snow Angel Making.
Salting the Front Porch was won by R. Denhart who managed to dump seven 30 bags in just under 8 minutes (a new record).
The Giant Snowman event was won by D. Horn whose nine foot in diameter base was an event record. The eventual height of 18 feet, 7 inches was just shy of the all time mark.
Loud cheering accompanied to Getting to the Mailbox without Falling was won by J. Garret who retrieved sixteen loads of mail before biting the ice.
As far as team standings went our home town, Kankakee, won with three gold, two silver and two bronze medals. Bradley was second with two of each category and forty three communities were tied for third with one medal each. The cities of Chicago, Peoria, Rockford and Joliet were not allowed to compete because of the likelihood that they contained citizens who were more skilled than ours. Also, we neglected to inform several other communities for the same reason.
All in all, it was a pretty successful launch, especially considering that most of us would have rather been doing something inside where it was warm.
Crazy Story #2
This crazy story also happened while I was in Vegas working with Oliver Stone on his biography. It was at a weeklong confer-ence where students with the 500 top SAT scores were invited to hear inspirational talks from leaders in politics, business and the arts. While there I met Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, Robert Gates (head of the CIA at the time, now the Secretary of Defense), Richard Sessions (head of the FBI at the time), Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Barbara Streisand, Bill Gates, Dolly Parton, Tom Selleck, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, a slew of other famous folk and a guy who sold popcorn outside Caesar’s Palace.
It was the last official night of the conference and, after the last speaker, Kevin Costner came up to me and said, “Hey, I’ve got a blackjack dealer coming up to my room so we can gamble up there instead of going into the casino. You and Oliver are invited. “Great,” I said. “Who else is going to be there?” Kevin began counting, “Let’s see…you, me, Oliver, Barbara (Streisand), Bruce (Willis), Demi (Moore), Tom Selleck and Barry Diller (former CEO of Paramount). Yeah, that’s eight. In like thirty minutes.”
I told Kevin it sounded good to me but I would have to check with Oliver. Well, it turned out that Oliver had something else he wanted to do so we didn’t go which is probably good because I had been thinking: “What am I going to bet? What if I lose? What if I have to go home and tell my wife that I lost the house to Bruce Willis?”
Sometimes God keeps me out of trouble.