by Lauren Kirchner
1. I get lost driving on the way to the stadium on the morning I’m supposed to swim the 200m butterfly, and I miss the race, but when I finally get there, 14-time-gold-medalist Michael Phelps tells me that I’ve won anyway, and that if he had to lose, he is glad to have lost it to such a worthy adversary. I climb the steps of the podium to accept my gold medal as Michael Phelps, Kerri Strug, and Thom Yorke all chant my name in unison and give me high-fives.
2. I’m performing a simple yet elegant ribbon routine during rhythmic gymnastics to the tune of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” when I realize I have a monster one-sided wedgie. Ann Romney rides by on her dressage horse Rafalca, shaking her head in disapproval.
3. I’m winding up to throw my javelin when I hear a voice in my ear, even though no one is there. It is the voice of my mother, who says that the time has come to tell me that I was born a twin, and that my identical twin sister was separated from me at birth, just like in The Parent Trap, and that, when my javelin lands, it will land on a giant world map on the ground, indicating where my long-lost sister is living right now, and that I must then go find her and bring her home.
4. I’m on the 10-meter high dive, about to jump, when I realize I’m wearing a sandwich bag on my head instead of a swim cap, and the pool far below is filled with marshmallow fluff and Nutella. The elderly librarian from my elementary school is alone in the bleachers, waving a tiny American flag. I stuff an entire loaf of bread into my mouth and jump headfirst into the pool, but I do not land because …
5. … then I am on a bicycle, speeding towards the finish in the cross country road race. I am trying to ride straight, which is difficult, because 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins is driving next to me in a Volkswagen Bug, and he is leaning out of the car and giving me a tattoo on my bicep as I ride. “Hold still,” he says. “Drive faster!” I say. I look down at the tattoo and see that he is drawing a portrait of himself.
Previously: Phobias, in Chronological Order.
Lauren Kirchner does not play sports.