The Olympics ended last night, both Knitting and real, and I for one was sad to see them go. It's been a hell of a party, especially, I think - if you had the privilege of being Canadian. Everyone I know here at home has had the best time seeing the world come to Canada and see our fine country the way that we do. We are very proud of this wonderful country, if usually a little quiet about that, and watching the wave of happiness that swept the nation as Canadians threw the biggest house party ever has left even the most staid of us slapping on the maple leaf and cheering in a way that suddenly felt very Canadian, even if it usually isn't. We were rewarded too, with houseguests that seemed to love the fine city of Vancouver and all the people in it, and partied on in a way that was so sportsmanlike and kind. Every country wins some and loses some- but as a citizen here, it was spectacular to watch Canada show off what being the true north can mean.. that the upside of freezing your arse off most of the year also can mean that you garner more gold medals than ever before... more even than any country before, and the icing on the cake was the spectacular hockey game last night when we took on our neighbours to the south and barely beat them... because a gold medal means more when you've got a really talented opponent who's really hard to beat. It was a great Olympics to be Canadian... and it was a really great Knitting Olympics to be Canadian. Yesterday I had to haul flat out to finish, but finish I did, and I'm really rather proud of myself. (I'll tell the story tomorrow.)
I was worried, at several points in this Olympiad, that I wasn't going to finish, and I really dealt with my feelings about that. I wasn't going to like it, but the idea was for the Knitting Olympics to be a personal challenge, and if there wasn't a chance that I couldn't do it, then it wouldn't be a challenge, and win or lose, I was going to be proud of myself for taking it on.
It's not really important, finishing a sweater in 17 days. Not really. Nobody lives or dies because I met a personal challenge, and if you didn't finish, you should rest assured that it's unlikely to hold you back in your life in any meaningful way... Trying and failing really isn't a setback. Not any more than going to the Olympics and coming in 5th place - or 23rd. If you tried and failed, well good for you. I think you're awesome and that trying is way better than finishing a sweater in 17 days (which isn't exactly a life skill.) If was easy, then it wasn't a challenge, and if you truly set a challenge and didn't meet it- then I bet you know why, and knowing something more about yourself (even if it's that you have a completely unreasonable knitting ego) is pretty great and can only serve you. I really think that. I'm proud of everyone who gave it a shot and fell short, whether you finished or not you are now the sort of person who tries a challenge. I think (and I'm not just saying this because I'm that sort of person) that people who sign up for life have a way better ride.
If you took on the challenge and you succeeded, congratulations, I bet some of you didn't know if you could do it or not, and I bet you surprised yourself in the best way possible. The esteemed Mr. Franklin Habit has once again made us a beautiful gold medal, and once again, it has a vaguely naked man on it which was frankly, more than I had hoped for. He's even made two sizes.. so you can use it for all your purposes.
Take it, use it (please, please, please save it to your own server and don't hotlink) and put it on anything (or anyone) you want. The image is Franklin's property and he says the following "I made this medal at your invitation for everyone to enjoy, to celebrate their accomplishments. They should feel free to use the downloadable versions to their hearts' content. I only ask that the image not be used to prepare items for sale." Should you feel the need, Franklin's also whacked the image on a bunch of stuff in his Cafepress shop.
Tomorrow I'll be giving you an email address that you can send your name to so that you can be entered for a prize and a certificate, I'm just wrestling an auto-respond thingie to the ground first. (That's something I learned from the last Knitting Olympics challenge. 4000 knitters is a lot of email.) Stand by. In the meantime, maybe get a cup of tea and sit yourself down, and click through to the athlete's page. This list of Athletes shows everyone who took part in the Knitting Olympics, and if they have a blog, you can click on their name and go have a look. There's some great stories there. While you're there, if you'd like to thank David for hosting that page and help him cover his bandwidth costs (again, 4055 knitters is a lot of knitters) he's got a little tip jar at the bottom of the page that he didn't even tell anybody about, that's how classy he is. (Sorry David, had to point it out. Thanks for your help buddy.)
Thanks to all of you, even the knitters who just watched and participated that way. A personal knitting challenge is both noble and dorky, and it's easier not to go it alone. I'm grateful for the sense of community, and not just because I didn't want to be the only dork doing it. It was a great Olympics, both knitterly and not. I had a wonderful time. Thanks for playing.