After two weeks spent at the (in)famous Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, I’ve gotten the chance to compare my sport to the rest of the Olympic sort. Walking through the OTC is like walking through a (slightly dated) sports museum. Every wall is draped with posters of past Olympics with athletes of all kinds of disciplines, some autographed, some not, that originate from various athletic eras.
Each day, as we sat in the cafeteria-style dining hall, I thought about how that athletic world is one in which high school cliques regenerate themselves. Here, the figure skaters, with their ribboned hair and sparkling smiles, are the cheerleaders. The tennis players? The preps. Distance runners? Band geeks. Alpine skiers? Kool kids. Track runners? Streets. Rhythmic gymnasts? Drama kids. I can go on, but my reinforcement of stereotypes is giving me a stomach ache.
But, the more I think of it, the more I have to-I just have to-equate the Nordic skiers to another clique in the athletic world. Fight me if you wish, but my intricate, time consuming thought experiments have lead me to believe that we, the Nordies, are the hipsters.
I know this is upsetting, but hang with me for a moment and consider these striking similarities between Nordic skiers and the hipster crowd:
1. a general population of white, educated, privileged people choosing to be poor
2. short pants. tight pants. colored pants.
3. Constant concern for eyewear. (don’t deny it)
4. Our general wearing of vests and flannels and hats with scarves and mustaches
6. Coffee, coffee, coffee.
6. general disgust at the world for not having good enough taste to like what we like
6.5…but also a conflicting pride in being too good for the “mainstream”
I rest my case.