**Dereliction of Katie
So, since Katie was supposed to do a blog like Monday, or Tuesday, or any time this week.. and she hasn’t… I will do it.
As a kid, I loved the Olympics; I watched every event. If I missed an athlete’s performance who I had been following, I felt so out of the loop. Now, I like the Olympics. I watch, if I’m home, and an event I like is on. I don’t DVR, check the schedule, or check online. I used to know all of the names of the America athletes competing that summer or winter. Now, if I am watching two nights in a row… I might recognize them by their face.
I think the magic of the Olympics boils down to this: real people accomplishing dreams. The best of the best. Way to go! You got there! And as a kid, even if you have never stepped foot on an ice rink, you watch the Olympics and think, “I could totally be an Olympic figure skater.” It’s every kid’s dream. At least for 2-3 weeks every couple of years.
Let’s be honest, how many of us think about curling between Olympics years? Or handball? Hockey, sure, some. Ski jumping? No at all.
What do Olympic athletes do between Olympic competitions? Sure, they train and compete on smaller scales. Some of them work at Home Depot, I hear… (a proud sponsor of Olympic athletes everywhere) They can’t have real jobs. Or real lives. I would love to interview someone for a teaching job who is an Olympic snowboarder. Not a former Olympian, a current competitor.
Best moments of the Olympics: we all love when the American golden athlete wins, preferably after a long struggle to the top, a near miss, someone else’s fall/error, and maybe a family history wrought with pain, struggle (Katrina, death of a parent, born without one ear…).
I love the moments when someone unexpected, or younger, or inexperienced wins not by others’ errors, but by their own perfect performance. That moment when they are on top of the world.
They don’t have to be Americans. Yes, of course, I am proud of my country and the athletes we produce, but let’s be honest, half of them train here anyway and then compete for their home country. Russian and Chinese and American ice dancers all have the same coach and practice together at the same rink in Minnesota? Ok, sure. The lines aren’t very clear anymore. It almost makes me wish that the best of the best in the world, not just two from each participating country, would compete in the Olympics. Yes, they can still represent their home countries. But I think it would be nice if they had to actually live in their countries. At least 6 months a year. Come on, Ovechkin, you should be playing for the USA hockey team and we all know it.
Now, Katie hates the Olympics. She doesn’t care, thinks they’re boring, and doesn’t know who is winning. I doubt she would know they’re in Sochi, Russia, this year if there hadn’t been so many funny pictures about Sochi not being ready, construction half done, the water being yellow, etc… on social media.
But I think it’s a mistake for her to not expose her 5-yr-old, Rigby, to the excitement, patriotism, and accomplishment exhibited both by the athletes and all of the supporters. I think it’s a rite of passage for kids to see these enormous accomplishments, made by people with incredible commitment to their chosen sport, who have given most of their time and money to the perfection of one thing. Whether you care about javelin throwing or not, I am invariably impressed by their prowess. Do I want to take it up? No. But I will gladly hug and congratulate you for being a BAMF. And I think all kids need those real-life athletic icons. Idols. People who have really done it. Not in the movies or video games. Shaun White is a snowboarding god. And he inspires kids all over the world to try snowboarding for the first time each winter. That is huge.
So when a kid plays a sport, whether traditional or not, for them to see the pros, the best, to see friendly, world competition… I think can only lead to positive life lessons and teachable moments.
Ok, I’ll stop ragging on Katie. And I will leave you with this:
Are the following Olympic “sports” really sports (and yes I looked at the full list, and I will admit I have never heard of some of these)? Opinions welcome.
- Equestrian Dressage (if you wear a top hat, it is not a sport)
- Handball (don’t get me started)
- Table Tennis
- Trampoline (yes, I was surprised, too, to see this on the official list of summer events)
- Weightlifting (I mean, it’s impressive, but not a sport, so to speak)