I've never been one for sports heroes. Putting my energies into a person or team who may get me all riled up or let me down has never been high on my list of interests. With the Olympics in full swing, naturally many of us are sitting in our homes rooting for Team America. The media is having a love fest with swimmer Michael Phelps. Meanwhile - if I may speak for women over 40, or those approaching this exciting decade - the one who gets us fired up is Dara Torres.
When I saw her photo on Time magazine, I'll admit to a twinge of jealousy: that body is making it hard for the rest of us. How can I compare to that? I wonder how many other women were thinking the same thing.
Then came the semi-finals. She asked one of the judges to wait while another swimmer fixed a suit problem. She didn't have to do that, the announcers mentioned. But goodwill, grace, talent and dedication, plus a dose of 41-year-old maturity made her stand out as a leader in the heat that she soon won.
Dara took the silver in the final; a disappointment, understandably. But the excitement surrounding her quest will no doubt be amplified as women of a certain age start saying to ourselves, "I can be better. There's no need to stay satisfied with what I have so far."
Reach for more, sister. That's what I'm thinking.