Courtney Ball

Cold Cheeks for Lolo Jones

So, in case you haven’t heard the news, Lolo Jones has joined the U.S. Olympic bobsled team.  There has been some hoopla over whether her popularity rather than performance is what helped her land a spot on the team, but I have a different ax to grind.

Back in 2012, my father invited my brothers and I to attend the Drake relays with him in Des Moines where I grew up.  Des Moines also happens to be the hometown of Lolo Jones.  In fact, she is the fastest female hurdler ever to come out of Des Moines, and some would argue she is also the hottest female athlete the city has ever produced.

I admit it was for both these reasons that my father, brothers, and I were excited to attend the Drake Relays that year.  As exceptional as the men in my family may be in some ways, we are also (our wives would confirm this) pathetically, irritatingly normal when it comes to female athletes.  Sure, we’re genuinely impressed with their athletic performance, but what really stirs our emotions is that moment when the unbelievably toned woman wearing practically no clothes turns to the crowd, smiles, and waves.  Each man with any chance of being within her line of sight secretly fantasizes that she is indeed waving at him, and the four of us were no different.

Still, I began to question the value of such an experience as my freezing butt cheeks went numb against the hard metal bleacher on which I sat in the Drake stadium that cold, rainy April morning.  About the time I considered whimpering to my brothers about my miserably cold ass and aching back, a rumor ran through the crowd.  ”Lolo Jones’s coach won’t let her run today unless it gets above 50 degrees.  Let’s all think warm thoughts!”

Well, we did think warm thoughts, and the temperature rose slightly above 50 degrees before her event, but 2012 was a summer Olympic year, so she and her coach weren’t willing to risk running in the cold and causing an injury.

Which brings me back to the ax I have to grind with Lolo Jones: if you can’t run when it’s less than 50 degrees, what the heck are you doing joining the Olympic bobsled team?

All joking aside, as a fellow Iowan and Des Moines(ian?), I wish her the best of luck, and I can’t wait to watch the games!

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Courtney Ball

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