Do you remember “Calvin and Hobbes”? This was a comic strip about Calvin, a six year old with a hyperactive imagination and absolutely no desire to live in the real world. His constant companion is Hobbes, a stuffed tiger who became “alive” only when Calvin was around. The two of them would share adventures and get on the nerves of Calvin’s parents, his teacher Miss Wormwood and his next door neighbor Susie. Only his babysitter Rosalyn could keep Calvin in check, but Calvin never went down without a fight.
During the winter months, Calvin and Hobbes would get on their trusty toboggan and sled down the steepest hills they could find. Between avoiding trees and screaming for their lives, they would have very literate conversations about the world around them. How Calvin could develop any ideas about life while barreling down a steep, snowy hills is beyond me, but Bill Watterson, the creator, made it work. One of my favorite strips featured the title characters having a very bad day on the hill. In the last panel, the two of them are sitting in front of the fireplace playing chess. Calvin looks at us and says “I’ve decided to become an intellectual.” We all doubt that’ll ever happen for Calvin. But, should he ever grow up (and, of course, he was a real person), I think with his tobogganing skills he could be an excellent member of the USA Luge team.
What is luge? The word “luge” is the French word for “sled”. And a competition luge sled is nothing like the toboggan Calvin and Hobbes used. On this sled, you lie down on your back and keep your body parallel to an icy course (the same one a bobsled uses). Two steel blades are at the bottom of the luge, which allow the rider to steer with his or her legs. Propulsion comes from the 4 millimeter spikes found on the fingertips of the gloves a driver wears. They can see through a fiberglass helmet that allows the head to be raised slightly. Oh, and did I mention that you are the braking system on this thing? Basically, at the end of the course, you sit up and dig your feet…
Would Calvin make a good luge driver? Maybe, if he didn’t think the sport was a team effort. The current USA Luge team has five men, six women and five junior competitors. These drivers have the spirit and the desire to barrel down the course at speeds close to 90mph and shoot for the fastest time to win. USA team members have won silver and bronze medals in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics.
World Financial Group is a proud sponsor of the USA Luge team and is excited to sponsor them through the 2008-09 season. Upcoming events include the Nations Cup in Austria this November, the World Cup in Latvia this December and the 41st World Luge Championships held in Lake Placid in February.
So, would Calvin make a good luge driver? I’d like to think so – if he could ever get past his refusal to play any team sport. No matter the case, WFG is excited to see this season come to life as USA Luge drivers go for the gold!