It’s a great time to be a Canadian. The red and white pride can practically be seen on the faces of everyone in my home town, even though we’re nowhere near Whistler.
And for many parents, it’s a great time for dreaming. The commercials between Olympics coverage showcase adorable young kids as our future Olympians, while a parent loyally cheers from the sidelines. Everything, from cameras and cereals to cars and credit cards, is finding a way to zero-in on that parental instinct to raise the next ‘Great One.’
A case in point: We see a mother waking to a 5 am alarm, driving her child in the dark to hockey practice, video-taping her child’s every minute and then shaking with pride when her child performs well.
My husband and I take in this commercial, then look at each blandly and agree, “Our kids don’t stand a chance at the Olympics, do they?”
I know, it sounds harsh. And lazy.
But the truth is, these athletes we watch today have been training intensely since they were children. And my kids? They’re not enrolled in a single organized activity. The odds are definitely not in their favour.
Let’s face it, if you make to the Olympics, chances are it’s because your parents dreamt it first.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d be just as proud as the next parent if my child turned out to be an Olympic athlete — slacker parents be damned. But how many of those kids at that 5 am practice actually make it to the Olympics? Maybe one. And maybe that one child is the only one who will look back fondly on those long, dark morning drives.
I fear it’s a quick hop, skip and a jump to go from a ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ parent to a ‘Future Olympian’ parent. And from where I sit on this couch, the risks look greater than the promise of a reward.
What do you think? Do I underestimate the value of training and competition in a child’s life? Or perhaps I am just jaded because I am hopelessly un-athletic and my genes are of no value whatsoever to my children? Will I be cheering on your child at the 2014 Olympics?
“Hockey” dmjarvey @ flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.
Feature photo, No known copyright restrictions Library of Congress