Lauren spent several years chasing around the elusive dream of representing the U.S. in eventing before dedicating herself to the pursuit of Plan B: becoming an Olympic pentathlete.
Lauren Nethery made it to the final four of the 2012 EN Blogger Contest. Today Lauren tells us about her Olympic dreams, and how that led her to the sport of Pentathlon. Thanks to Lauren for writing, and thank you for reading.
For children all around the world, there comes a day in early education when they are a prompted with the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Fifteen or so six-year-olds, all “hopped up on Mountain Dew”, sat in a formation meant to resemble a circle, all clamoring to be heard all of those years ago. Amongst a barrage of professions like ‘doctor’, ‘astronaut’, ‘
Somewhere over Utah, a little black bird exploded. Six pigs were killed. During this day and age, long plane rides absolutely necessitate Angry Birds. With the successful three-star completion of Part 3 of Level VII, I turned my iPad off and stared into the inky abyss beyond my little port hole. My neighbor, actually in the window seat, drooled carelessly in his slumber, little bits of Biscoff cookie still adorning his ample lap. The Captain alerted us to the beginning of our initial descent into the Seattle area (We’re losing altitude? You don’t say! I was hoping that was the reason you just dropped the wheels. Duh.) and about this time it occurred to me that I had no idea how to start off blocks, had never fenced a one-touch bout, could not even begin to envision what sort of target I might be shooting at, could not sprint for more than 200m without hopping around like a pogo stick favoring my bad knee, and had not ridden anything that was not hot blooded in what seemed like eons. No matter. In four days’ time I would be a newly branded, bona fide, kind of official but mostly still wannabe Pentathlete. I floundered like a moose fallen into a frozen lake in the pool and ran like I had all month to finish but fencing, riding, and (surprisingly) shooting all came very easily. The people were amazingly kind, the horses were generous and willing, the competitors were helpful and encouraging, and without the tremendous help of EN’s own Jane Rusconi (JER) I would probably still be bobbing in the pool. Jane was kind enough to allow a complete stranger to show up at her door with boyfriend and father in tow, lend that complete stranger a FIREARM immediately, and help said stranger (me) in every way imaginable. I cannot thank her enough. I did try to repay her generosity just a tiny bit by riding her adorable pony horse, Ace, who is undoubtedly on track to be the next Teddy O’Connor, but that was not nearly enough. If any of you are ever in Vancouver, do make her acquaintance. You won’t regret it. By the time Monday dawned over Mt. Baker in Maple Ridge, BC, I had managed to compile both an individual and a team competition beneath my belt and slate another Pentathlon on the horizon in October in Guelph. I headed south with a renewed compulsion to sink my teeth into the gold of an Olympic medal and I have high hopes that Rio will be a 2016 travel destination for me. For all of you out there thinking that I surely must be bonkers, hear this: chase you dreams, even the big ones; don’t let anyone stand in your way; and if you can fence, swim, ride, run, and shoot…or even just one or two of those things, give Pentathlon a try. Shakespeare, in his play Measure for Measure, cautioned that “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we might oft win by fearing to attempt.” Fear failure, fear spiders, fear a world without chocolate but do not, under any circumstance, ever, ever fear to attempt.