The Olympics as a Parent

As I expected, I haven’t been watching the Olympics in London consistently, despite the fact that I was so fired up after the opening ceremonies. but I have been catching bits and pieces of the delayed broadcast on NBC, and I’ve enjoyed watching these incredible athletes in action. Gabby Douglas’s gold medal last night was particularly inspiring. And the many world records I’ve seen swimmers beat are always exciting. Then there are the heartbreaking defeats and mistakes that remind us that these are, after all, people — often very young ones who are still children in many ways.

And more than ever before, I’ve noticed how involved many of the athletes’ parents are. Maybe it’s like this every Games, or maybe I’m noticing it more because I’m a parent myself now. But I’m loving seeing these incredibly supportive parents cheering on their precious children. Some are coaches themselves, some have allowed their children to leave their homes to pursue better training… But I am sure that all of them have sacrificed something to help their children succeed. And I can only imagine how it must feel to sit on the sidelines as your child achieves a gold medal — overwhelming joy, I’m sure, to see your child’s dreams come true in a moment. And it must be so difficult for those parents who watch as their children fail. Surely their hearts break as they helplessly watch as their children react to a bad routine or poor score, blaming themselves or crying with anger and disappointment.

I have not yet watched J in a play or on a court, but on some level I think I can understand how these parents must feel. Every day, I feel like I love my son more (if that’s even possible). I want nothing more than his health and happiness. I can only imagine how I will feel after so many years have gone by.

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