The Winter Olympics always remind me of the time CPT America and I went luging.
We did this years and years ago. Before we had children. Before the term “mom jeans” had been invented. Before Germany had switched from the Deutsche Mark to the Euro.
It was a long time ago.
We’d signed up for a little tour. The military base where CPT America worked offered these kinds of day trips frequently. This one went to a little town near the Austrian border where there was a luge track – quite a good luge track, in fact. Built in the 1960’s, it was the first permanent, artificially refrigerated bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track in the world.
The day we went, it was cold and snowing. The course workers gave us helmets and numbers and told us we were going to be timed. And then they told us we would not be starting at the top of the track. We weren’t trained for that. We would be starting two thirds of the way down. There was a nice corner there where we could just slip onto the ice and be one our way. Don’t worry, they told us. We’d still go plenty fast.
I was still in shock at how tall and steep the track was. I don’t think I was really prepared. But, I got in line with everybody else. And when you’re in line like that, it’s embarrassing to have second thoughts. You can’t get out of line without making a scene, so I bravely soldiered on. And, despite hearing that a woman two people ahead of me had lost control and scuffed her face pretty good, I got onto my little sled, lay back, and pushed off.
I screamed all the way down that track.
CPT America, who had gone about ten people ahead of me, heard. Everybody in the park must have heard. CPT America has teased me ever since.
Once the shock and alarm wore off (and I was safely on my own feet again), I realized that luging was incredibly fun. Especially that final, sweeping curve. I was sorry they let us go only once.
Later, all the lugers gathered in a little restaurant at the base of the hill where the staff read off everyone’s times and gave us certificates of participation. CPT America and I still have ours. Out of about 45 people, CPT America finished 9th. He was very pleased.
From the dining room table, thinking that CPT America looks about twelve years old in these photos (I promise he was of age when we married!),