Kicking a guy when he’s down
As luck would have it, I was the fourth caller when TV8 was giving away the DVD “Flying Downhill,” Bode Miller’s story. I never call in for giveaways, but for some fluke of chance, I phoned in that day. And as fate would have it, I’m glad I did. I like Bode. Our kids like Bode. His story is the essence of the sport. The very interview that got him into such trouble on “60 Minutes” last week quoted, “In a sport that people do for love, not money, Bode Miller has become a multi-millionaire, which he says is a big problem.”Boy, was Bode on the mark in this same “60 Minutes” interview when speaking about the negative impacts of becoming a multi-millionaire. (But then, of course, how would I know?) “That process is about as unhealthy as anything else I can think of,” he said. Has being the multi-millionaire in this exclusive club made him hot, and therefore an easy icon to love one moment and detest the next? Has Bode met all criteria of the fickle American populace?Poor Bode, I think yes. You are still our hero. And I will proudly cheer for you in the Olympics. And so will my 5- and 7-year old kids.That DVD, “Flying Downhill,” has been playing constantly in our home since we won it. Perhaps the joy of “winning” in a giveaway has something to do with it. But the content was riveting, too. Bode has become iconic to my children. As I write tonight, I am haunted with the memories of Jean Claude Killy posters plastered on every inch of my brothers’ room in the 1970s. He was their hero, and I am watching history replay itself in the life of my similar-aged kids. Add a DVD to the mix, and I wonder if I would have seen much of my two older brothers. Their eyes would have been constantly fixated on the screen, watching and learning about their hero, Killy. Thankfully, I can just turn off the car and the player quits. Back to life-on-level-ground kids, Bode’s “off” for some time now, so let’s hop out of the van. That’s how mesmerizing Bode’s epic rise is to my kids. So no wonder my son grew pale when he heard in the background that Bode is in trouble while the news was on in our kitchen tonight.Say it ain’t so, Mom! His eyes widened. “Mom, what did Bode do wrong?” Out of the mouths of babes. I sighed. Well, in my opinion, he got caught off-guard in a statement to the news. He said a word, “wasted,” and perhaps didn’t mean it as it was understood by the news. My son cocked his head and said, “Can’t his coach help him find the right word?””Well, it’s too late, son. It’s all over the world that he talked about using alcohol and skiing a race afterward.” “Will he go to jail?””No, no. I don’t even understand it enough to explain it well, son. Only Bode knows what he intended to say, and now he just had to apologize to all of his fans like you who love and believe in him.””But I don’t want him to say he’s sorry if he didn’t do it, or mean it that way, or you know, Mom.”So there you have it, Bode. One diehard 7-year-old skier in Vail, Colorado, says you’re still his hero, no apology required, or in his opinion, even necessary.I agree with him. The innocence of youth should touch all of our hearts and minds. Adults, news reporters especially, tend to take words at face value. We call a spade a spade. But can my 7-year-old’s remarks enlighten us all to loosen up a bit? It’s tough to be on top. He even admitted that in the same “60 Minutes” interview that got him into such hot water. When speaking about drug testing, he said, “It’s like you’re guilty until proven innocent.”I read Bode’s apology. He explained that skiing drunk isn’t what he is about. You can believe him or not. I’m with my son on this one. Go on-line to http://www.flyingdownhill.com and check out Bode’s DVD. Perhaps you will learn more about this dude who’s put skiing back into everyday sports vernacular. No doubt, Bode will keep testing, pushing his and everyone else’s limits. The Associated Press reported that the day after his apology, “Bode Miller hit the trifecta: an apology, a disqualification, an absence.”He even completed his run because he contends he didn’t miss the gate. Being a no-show for the ceremony wasn’t cool, but enough is enough with Bode sometimes. The guy has guts. And as World Cup race director Guenther Hujara said, “It just never stops with him.”Don’t stop, Bode. And when you’re in Vail next time, send me an e-mail. I have some young fans who would like to fly downhill with you. I’ll buy you lunch and a soda pop. (Better skip the beer, we might be front-page news, “Kids watching Bode drink, mom buys the beer for Bode.” Yikes!)Elizabeth H. Chicoine of Eagle writes a weekly column for the Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Vail, Colorado
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