Canoe slalom is an actual Olympic sport — it has been for 20 years. If steering a boat around some sticks with a paddle is worthy of medals, I figure it’s only fair that the world also acknowledge another group of individuals who have devoted their lives to traveling under treacherous conditions: Metro riders.
There are countless similarities between transit die-hards and top athletes. It takes some of us hours a day to “train.” We have to warm up (after waiting on a frigid outdoor platform in the winter) and cool down (after escaping from a hot car in the summer). And we’re hoping to take home the silver one day — or rather, have the Silver take us home from Dulles Airport.
So if we want to see Metro mastery honored at the 2016 Games, all that’s left is figuring out what the specific events in this discipline should be. I happen to have a few ideas:
No matter how many times we hear the announcement that “Metro doors aren’t like elevator doors,” we’re willing to throw ourselves through the snapping jaws of the nearest train car if it means we won’t have to wait around needlessly. Sure, Metro platforms aren’t 10 meters high, but it’s still plenty tricky to get the hang of the timing and the proper technique. Just as Olympic divers lose points for making a splash, door divers get low scores if they knock anyone over on their way inside.
Quickly leaping over metal and plastic is hard, but making your way past an entire high school band that’s clogging up a doorway is almost impossible. I have friends who have upped the difficulty level even more in order to perform a maneuver they call “the salmon ladder.” It’s designed for situations in which you board at one end of the train and want to get off at the other end, so at every stop you dash out and move into the next car no matter what obstacles stand in your way. I’d like to see Lolo Jones do that.
Gymnasts have to perform routines on a beam just 4 inches wide, but at least it’s stable. Riders who can’t find a pole or a seat back to grab onto — or are just too germophobic to touch anything — must have core muscles of steel to make sure jostles and bumps don’t topple them over (possibly taking down an entire high school band in the process).