With the Olympics just days away, Sochi is at the forefront of the news. As we are inundated with visions of downhill skiers and figure skaters, I started to think about Buffalo-specific events that we would all be gold medalists in. May the Buffalolympics commence!
The games could begin by the lighting of the flame. No need for fancy, fire-induced torches here. This would simply require volunteers to breathe on an exposed gas line after consuming a dozen suicidal wings from Duff’s. I can picture our own version of the cauldron – a gigantic steel chicken wing – blazing atop the skyline.
The opening ceremonies could include a speed-dressing competition. Challengers would be timed on their ability to dress head-to-toe in three layers for snow-shoveling duty outside First Niagara Center. Once dressed, the competitors would have to scrape off a snow- and ice-covered vehicle and then drive on to the next event.
Our fair city wouldn’t need to invest in building state-of-the art luge tracks, because we have our own Delaware S curves that would be fabulous for bobsled events. Think compact cars, slightly balding tires and a nice icy surface. The first team to successfully reach Nottingham Terrace would be the winner.
Next is an event that every home-grown adult has experienced – the grocery cart challenge. Contestants would have to push a full shopping cart through a slushy, snow-covered parking lot while braving bone-chilling wind gusts. A bonus round would increase the degree of difficulty by including a toddler in the seat.
Time to warm up and head indoors for an academic round – the Know Your Meteorological Vocabulary event. Contenders would not only have to completely define the terms, such as lake effect and wind chill, but provide temperatures and specific weather conditions that would accompany them.
What would the Buffalolympics be without an old-fashioned relay race? Participants would be given a list of tasks to complete before the fictitious winter storm occurs. Activities would include gassing up one’s vehicle, firing up the generator in the backyard and shopping for various staple items. The latter may require some physical strength, vying for that last loaf of bread or gallon of milk.
At this point in the competition, athletes would be clamoring for refreshments and it would be time for the coffee run challenge. Drivers would have to navigate the twists and turns of a Tim Horton drive-through lane before the snow plow gets there. Rules would include blazing new tire ruts in the freshly fallen snow and ordering and paying for a coffee and doughnut without removing one’s gloves.
A local radio station would host the next event – speed reading. Individuals would have to read through a complete snow closing list, correctly pronouncing all of our Buffalo jargon. Special attention would be paid to the pronunciation of Chautauqua, Scajaquada and Cheektowaga.
Our award ceremonies would be a bit different than Sochi’s. In lieu of medals, participants would be given golden bags of Watson’s sponge candy. As an alternative to flower head wreaths, competitors would don Buffalo plaid bomber hats. Instead of national anthems, favorite songs from Buffalo’s own Ani DiFranco and the Goo Goo Dolls would be played as the Buffalolympics draw to a close.