Monday, August 11, 2008

The Amazing Human Body and The Olympics

Yesterday, I spent most of my time glued to the TV, hoping for whatever I can get by way of Olympics coverage from our cheap cable TV operator. I have been a fan of the Olympics for as long as I can remember, and the event that I enjoy watching the most is artistic gymnastics. There is just something almost unreal about watching these mostly diminutive individuals make maximum use of their muscles, their core, and flexibility to come up with the most masterful, but still, graceful, moves. Through these extremely talented gymnasts, I am reminded of the human body's amazing potential.

I used to be fairly athletic myself, and even dabbled in volleyball and badminton during high school. But when I was diagnosed with scoliosis, and was ordered to wear a back brace, I knew that my previously fit body would no longer be able to benefit from real, hard-core training. To compound my misery, my doctor told me that my scoliosis was getting worse, and that I needed operation. So I went under the knife at age 17, and until now, I carry a harrington rod the length of my spine inside me. My spine is now straight, but alas, my movements and activities are now restricted. I can't do extreme sports (not that I really want to), but even the more normal stuff like bending, or reaching my toes, I can't really do anymore. Sadly, I can't even show my back in a two-piece, because my scar runs the length of my back.

I have learned, through the years, not to whine about my situation, and embrace my imperfections. I refuse to think I am handicapped, and eventhough my body is no longer as fit as I would want it to be, I am happy that my spine problem has been corrected and my lungs can expand without interference.

...which makes the Olympics an even more cherished every-four-years event. I may not be able to do what these Olympians can do with their body, but I find comfort that THEY can. I watched US v. China basketball last night, and was blown-away by the athleticism of the US athletes. How fast they ran; how high they leaped; how nimble they were with the ball. I also watched men's gymnastics, and my sister, who is a med student, definitely benefited from seeing all those bulging muscles up close, without the aid of books.

Now that I'm determined to live healthy, I have come to appreciate my body more. My mom always says, "your body is a temple", and now, I know exactly what she means. :)