Like any red (-white-and-blue) blooded American, I’ve been loving the Olympics. I’m currently on my couch, dressed to go out, but now that women’s gymnastics is on, I have no intention to leave my apartment.
But guys, I really think I’m getting more emotional lately. Maybe it’s because I’m on a Pediatrics rotation right now, or because it’s that time of the month, sorry TMI, oh wait I have no filter. I’ll get sad at the drop of a hat (or a body flopping from the high bar). As much as I love seeing our athletes win, anytime they show any other team crying, I get really sad!
I mean, I go to work and am surrounded by sick, sad kids. And then on NBC, constant shots of sad kids. Because that’s what they are, kids! They’re 16, 17, and they’ve been living and breathing gymnastics, swimming, whatever sport since childhood. And they come and perform, and only gold can be good enough. And there can only be one winner. (Sensing a Hunger Games vibe here). And every time one of them makes a game-changing mistake, I just imagine that they’ll be beating themselves up for years for it, the bobble on balance beam that cost them the gold.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching the competitions. But maybe it’s because I’m now older than most of these young athletes, and it seems like the shelf life of, say, an Olympic gymnast, is so short nowadays. People keep saying Phelps is past his prime–he’s only 27! I’m totally projecting, or misplacing sympathy, but if I were in their shoes, I would feel like I peaked in adolescence or something. And there are such better parts of your life than adolescence! I also feel for the athletes that come in eighth place, or the ones that don’t make the semifinals. I mean, these are world-class athletes too! They can’t help if it someone is more talented than they are. I just want to tell them that the important thing is that they tried hard, and did their best, and let’s go to Pizza Hut after the game anyway!
Maybe I’m just feeling extra mom-like after two months on Peds. And when we’ve been learning about how to build self-esteem in children, we’re always told not to praise them for things they can’t help, like being pretty or fast or talented. Instead, we’re told to focus on when they do things, or try hard, or work at their talents to get better. Call me a kindergarten teacher, but congratulating kids on their effort is the way to go. And every time the camera zooms on someone’s parents, and they look all disappointed by a silver medal–this is how children get insecure about their achievements!
Anyway, I could talk about the Olympics for days. I’ll end with this unrelated thought: why do the swimming announcers keep calling the winners “fearless”? They call each race a “gutsy” performance or talk about how the swimmer had “no fear”. I wholeheartedly agree each swim is impressive, but what makes it gutsy? What is there to fear, the wall?