Friday, August 19, 2016

Going For the (Imaginary) Gold

Poor Katie Ladecky.

I feel bad for her, having to settle for all of those silver medals. Yes, I know it's an honor just to compete in the Olympics. And I know that getting a silver medal is an amazing achievement, and getting several silvers even more so. Still, I can't help but be sad for her not being able to get a gold. She never really had a chance.

You may be wondering what in the world I'm talking about. Of course Katie Ladecky won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio. She won several of them! But, where she never stood a chance was at the Fake Olympics. At the Fake Olympics, my daughter won all the gold medals.

We've been watching the Olympics as a family, and the kids have really been enjoying it, especially Thing 1 (my eight year-old daughter) and Thing 2 (my six year-old son.) And not only have they been watching the real Olympics, they've also been competing in the Fake Olympics.

Thing 1 had a pool party for a church activity the other day. When I went to pick her up she excitedly said, "Katie Ladecky won five silver medals! She was great."

"Oh, and who won the golds?" I asked.

"I did," she said, matter-of-factly. She continued, "I was swimming with Katie Ladecky, and Michael Phelps, and that guy with the gray hair. It was really fun!" (Ah, back when his choice of hair color was the worst decision Ryan Lochte had made.)

My daughter with two of her many gold medals.
(And, apparently, she got the beads because she set a world record!)

A few days earlier Thing 1 and Thing 2 were wrestling a bit and pretending to hit each other in slow motion. "What in the world are you doing?" I asked.

"It's a new event. Underwater boxing!" was the reply. (Hmmm...underwater boxing? Yes, I think I'd watch that!)

The kids found some little toy gold medals, and they've been wearing them around. Thing 1 asked, "Daddy, can you put this medal around my neck? And sing the Olympic song when you do it?"

I replied, "Bom, bom, bom-bom, bom. Duh, duh, duh-duh duh, duh, duh," as I slipped the medal over her head.

My son has won plenty of gold, too!

As we've watched the Olympics, I've been impressed by the enthusiasm my kids have shown for the participants. Especially my boy, Thing 2. A race will start and he'll giddily jump up and down while shouting, "AmewicaAmewicaAmewicaAmewicaAmewicaAmewica!!!" (He has some trouble saying the letter "r.") I've tried to teach him the old, familiar chant of, "U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!" but he keeps going back to "AmewicaAmewicaAmewica!"

He's becoming an expert, too. The other night they were showing the pole vault. He had never seen anything like that before, and he was fascinated. I explained how it worked. "Yay! He didn't knock the bar over! He won!" The next night they were showing the high jump. Thing 2 watched for a minute, then declared, "Oh, it's just like the pole vault, except without the pole!"

The kids love their fake gold medals, and they've expressed a desire to win real gold medals. As parents, we have to skate that fine line between being encouraging and being realists. I said, "You know how you think 15 minutes is a long time to practice your piano lessons every day? Well, to win a gold medal it takes a lot more practicing than that. A lot more practicing!"

"Okay," they said.

So, when you're watching the 2032 Summer Games from Anchorage, Alaska (global warming, y'all!) be sure to keep an eye out for my kids. They'll be the ones on the podium winning the gold for Underwater Boxing!

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