Morocco has an athlete in Vancouver for this year’s Winter Olympics—an Alpine skier. He’s certainly not the first Moroccan Olympian—Morocco’s been participating in both summer and winter events since 1960, winning several medals along the way.
Judging from my own casual and unofficial survey, it seems not many people here have been following the events from Vancouver. I realized today, however, that people on the street are participating in their own particular way. With characteristic dedication, these men and women are tirelessly practicing their chosen events. If driving Olympics are ever held, I think this country will be a shoo-in.
Giant Slalom–Cars: Today I watched in amazement as several cars sped past me on the left, swerved in front of me to avoid a car in the left lane, zipped back in front of that car, and continued on out of sight, weaving from lane to lane at speeds nearly too fast to see. Impressive!
Giant Slalom—Scooters: Like comparing snowboards to skis, the scooters are working on a much tighter race course. This is the most technical of the driving events and requires nerves of steel or a complete disregard for personal safety. Darting in and out amongst moving vehicles, gaining ground at traffic lights, their engines sounding like overgrown mosquitoes, they are an inspirational sight. There are several versions of this event: Men’s Single, Men’s Double, Mixed Doubles, and Entire Family.
Curling: A common sight on the streets here are the street sweepers, wielding long palm branches to sweep trash and debris up. Saturday we had a windstorm, and the nearest thing Rabat has yet produced to a sand storm. Of course no one who has lived in the Sahara could view it with anything more than amusement—there was just the tiniest bit of dust and it wasn’t even 80 degrees! It was almost cute!—but the wind was fierce. And, in the middle of it, the street sweepers were out with their palm branches. I think such dedication deserves some kind of medal.
Ice-Dancing–interpretative folk dance: There’s a lack of ice here, except in the small but famed ice rink located at Mega Mall (known affectionately in our family as Mega Prix). But nothing can stop these drivers! They are interpreting their folk music on their horns, using a variety of rhythms, force and mood to convey shifting emotions, from the simple “please move on; the light changed a millionth of a second ago” to the more forceful “I would be quite happy to put you in front of your Maker this very second.”
Biathalon: Guns are illegal here, which I personally feel is a very good idea. Instead, drivers must stop and shoot insults at each other! A panel of judges will decide who wins each individual shouting match.
Four-man Bobsleigh: That’s nothing! I’m pretty sure you could fit at least 8 people into one of those bobsleighs—plus several kids! Helmets are optional.
Most impressively, all these events are held at the same time on the same course! Picture skis and snowboards and sleds all competing at once on the same hill! That’s the kind of excitement the streets of Rabat have to offer.