Ah, These Olympics

I’ve enjoyed watching the Olympics, even knowing that nothing on TV is “Live” (despite what NBC might try to convince you in the corner of the screen), and that many of the theatrics of the site/location must be taken with a very large grain of salt.

As much as possible, I flip through the channels at night to watch men’s and women’s swimming, women’s diving, beach volleyball, softball and basketball (if I’m awake early enough). I find it distressing that the rumors are abundant that the Chinese women’s gymnastics team looks like they’re 12 – and there’s enough anecdotal evidence supporting that notion floating around the ‘net that the IOC should seriously investigate. I find it humourous that people are up in arms about the computer enhancements that made the Opening Ceremonies so spectacular. I find it appalling that China made a girl lip-sync during the Opening Ceremonies.

But I love the drama. I watch beach volleyball and find myself telling my son “watch, he’s going to hit the ball down the line” or “look at the spin on the ball.” My daughter even more so is infatuated with volleyball and wants to play when she gets older. (I’d be happy if she played softball, given that she’s probably never going to be exceptionally tall.)

I know that so many people get that Olympic high after the Games and get their kids involved in more sports after the Games. I think that’s a great thing. What I really hope for though is that those same parents do NOT let their kids quit after things get tough for them. Those parents have to remember that these athletes train for days, weeks, months, years – what we see on the screen is the result of all that training and, this is the most important point, those athletes MAKE IT LOOK EASY.

It’s not. I speak from years and years of experience in volleyball, both indoor and sand, and from coaching basketball and soccer. There’s a lot of hard work that’s involved. My son takes karate now and he’s into his second year now. He’s finally realized that he likes it and he wants to become a black belt. That’s another three years from now, given his pace. That’s ok by me. My daughter wants to take karate as well, in between wanting to act on stage and flying to the moon. So, maybe we’ll start her with soccer. 🙂

My advice to all those parents: cherish the fact that the kids want to play – Lord knows that we’ve got a generation of kids nowadays that want to just be couch potatoes and are overweight – and encourage them to do so. Just don’t let them quit. Show them that perseverance and hard work do pay off – that’s a Life Lesson they can take with them always.