It’s tough to predict what our kids’ athletics careers will look like.
Based on their father, my girls should have been backups to the backups and the last kids picked. The eternal fourth-place ribbon. But somehow, someway, they overcame my genetics. They’d each eclipsed my sports fame by the time they began kindergarten.
I wonder what it’s like for parents who are decent athletes.
Today’s guest post comes from Megan Lisca. She writes the blog Meaningful Mommy. Megan has a beautiful knack of embracing “the art of meaningful.” It’s in the way we live and how we parent. Parenting will wean you from perfection, for sure.
In Summer Games years, I love the Summer Games. Right now? It’s the Winter Games. It’s like all my elementary school years. In winter, it was all about football for me. During the summer? It was dinosaurs and Star Wars. All.The.Time.
I get pretty caught up in it.
I love the stories, especially.
You know I sometimes get a little, um, extreme about my patriotism. Sometimes, we Americans come off as ugly. Petulant. Like the way Ashley Wagner, the American skater, reacted after a routine she felt great about failed to wow the judges:
If you can read her lips, you know how she felt about it. But to me, it’s just competitive. And I love Ashley Wagner for it.
It’s OK to want to win.
“I love to win,” Ashley told NBC News, “ … if you love to win, you should say it. And honestly, I’m hooked on it.”
This Winter Games, I want to spread a little love, too.
Some divas have captured my heart, but maybe not the medal they sought.
I love their stories. I love their hearts. Each of these three athletes did something in their Olympic moment, or leading up to it, or immediately after it, that prompted me to create a new Winter Olympics event:
Welcome to the Alpine Freestyle Coach Daddy-athalon.
Her place in my event: She won gold in Torino (2006) and silver in Vancouver (2010). After winning that gold in ’06, she started Hannah’s Gold maple syrup, whose proceeds go to help an impoverished village in Kenya. She also has an underwear line, Sweet Cheeks, that benefits Children International, a non-profit charity focused on feeding children.
Her moment: Unhappy with her score and watching her hold on the bronze medal slip away late in the snowboarding halfpipe, Teter smiled, hugged teammate Kaitlyn Farrington, the surprise gold-medal winner, and gracefully exited in her first Olympics that didn’t end on the podium.
Her place in my event: No other woman has as many Olympic medals (4) as Mancuso, who needs one more to tie Bode Miller for most for an American in the Winter Games. Super Jules is really close with her father, who lives near her in Hawaii. She wore a plastic tiara on the podium in the 2010 Games.
Her moment: So versatile. So clutch. After a season of struggles on the slopes, Mancuso put together a remarkable run late in the super combined final to capture bronze. With the pressure at its peak and course in its worst condition, Mancuso managed to put together a gritty, medal-worthy performance.
Her place in my event: A leg shattered in a bobsled accident. A heartbreaking fourth-place finish in the Vancouver Games, just off the podium. Then, a miscarriage. Pikus-Pace fought back from all these setbacks, a strong, beautiful mom who battled back problems and concussion-like symptoms in Sochi for one last chance.
Her moment: After her final run in the skeleton – a face-first, luge-like spin down the ice at 80 mph-plus – Pikus-Pace leapt into the crowd to celebrate her run. She held the gold-medal spot for one slider, and after Brit Lizzy Yarnold beat her time, Pikus-Pace still said “good as gold!”
We love to watch the Olympics – but it seems to bring out a little hate in us, too.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day. We all want America to win. Every single time. And, like when we root for our favorite football teams or soccer teams, we develop a little healthy animosity for the other side. Or, in this case, the rest of the world.
The whole us against them mentality is contagious.
So as we root against Swedes and Russians and even Canadians (except for Dara Howell and Melissa Hollingsworth and Katelyn Osmond), inevitably, the girls have questions. Lots of them.
We’re all about culture up in here, at Coach Daddy.
Toby writes a blog called Dumbass News. No, it’s not the detroit red wings fan newsletter. It has a very distinctive symbol and news that you’d find disturbing and amusing. Or, just disturbing, if it happens to be about you.
He’s here at Coach Daddy today to talk about a refined cultural event that takes place in his home state.
Check out his pages, too, where the language has a few more crayons in its array then we do around here (unless you count all of Kathy’s submissions from Kissing The Frog. She has Toby-esque license, apparently.)
I’m usually one to love. Write about love. Loving things.
But like vegetables, shin splints, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, love can’t exist without a dose or three of hate.
“Leave hate for Hitler,” I like to say. (OK, I don’t say it, yet, but I heard it in a movie, and it sounded cool.)
Inspired by the hateful words on tidbitsofchaos.com (the author isn’t hateful – she’s honest, insightful and funny), here’s my list of 5 things I hate (I’d considered making it 10, but it didn’t make sense to double the dose on my Five For Friday theme that I got from another blogger, Krafty Kat).
1. Every country that goes against the U.S. in the Olympics.
The kids have picked up on this one, and it’ll mean talk about the difference between American pride and, um, being openly racist. It’s actually a fine line. We can stew over a Russian gymnast celebrating an American mistake, and rightly so, but the following exchange happened between my oldest two and me, in the presence of my sister, who was appalled:
Me: Dangit, the American didn’t win.
Elise: Who won?
Me: The French dude.
Elise: I hate the French.
Marie: I hate anyone who isn’t American.
They’re just learning about this great big world. Of course we don’t hate the French; of course, we don’t hate anyone who isn’t American. But the seeds for a healthy disdain for your rivals and the seeds for hating your rival sometimes get mixed in the same pack.
We’re working on that.
As American women’s soccer star Alex Morgan pointed out, “I wanted to beat Canada SO BAD.” This isn’t a bad thing to feel or say. As I said, we’re working on it … because it’s OK to really, really dislike your rivals.
2. The rivals: the Dodgers, Raiders, red wings, and lakers.
It’s OK to have rivals. That team you can’t stand. That school you have nightmares about your daughter choosing. I’ve always felt if the Broncos went 2-14, and beat the Raiders twice, it’s a great season.
I wonder how many of you noticed I won’t even capitalize the teams’ names. Rivals, though, are what gives sports such depth. They make winning sweeter, losing more bitter, and the desire to get back in and play again overwhelming.
Been part of a rivalry? You know how it feels. For every kid who wears a Duke jersey for a trip to Chapel Hill, or helps carry a rival-inspired trophy out of a stadium, or who has celebrated a title on a rival’s playing grounds, it’s a rich and delicious fabric in sports.
The Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry has been explained as “just plain hate.”
I can associate.
3. Buying tortillas in the store.
I’d rather buy maxi pads or Preparation H. There’s just something fundamentally wrong. I’m no longer Catholic, but I’m fairly sure there must be a saint in the Latino Catholic church that watches over the coconut – you know, the one who is brown on the outside and white on the inside.
Saint Masa Trigo, forgive me my sins. I know I should be home making them myself.
My penance? Three Our Fathers, six Hail Marys, and 50 homemade tortillas.
During a shameful trip to Wal-mart, I felt self-conscious taking the white, er, easy way out with tortillas prepackaged in Trenton, N.J. When I decided on the even-cheaper Wal-mart brand and put down the Old El Paso, I did so in the presence of a young Latina.
She shook her head slowly and shopped on. My Latino card had been revoked.
What would abuela do?
Like I was no longer permitted to yell “aye! aye! aye!” during a Spanish polka song (OK, so this isn’t something I have the opportunity to do every day, but still … ), or to bark out “primera a la pelota!” during a soccer game (translated: “first to the ball!”), or to order enchiladas in the Mexican restaurant and use a Spanish accent.
4. Jacking up a favorite shirt by slopping on it.
It’s one thing when a little butter seeped through the end of my tortilla, or pizza sauce dribbled. It’s somehow all the more tragic when the offending spot-creator is something as deplorable as Italian dressing.
I mean, I’ve just relegated a shirt – probably a favorite – to the charity/yard sale pile, all because I thought I’d go all Dr. Oz and douse my salad (what am I doing eating salad in the first place? I’m a carnivore. It better have had bacon bits) with Italian dressing and pass on the Thousand Island, Buttercorn Ranch or Super Creamy Oh So Dreamy Caesar dressing?
Man, I’m getting all steamed up just thinking about it.
Damn salads. Trouble. Leave them for the rabbits.
5. Losing a golf disc to a sneaky kid. Or forest snake. Or wilderness nymph who doesn’t even grant me wishes.
More likely, it’s just someone who happens by and decides not to call the cellphone number I’ve scrawled in Sharpie underneath. (Who am I kidding? Half of the discs in my bag have someone else’s name and number on them, and I never call them. It’s the one Old Testament part of me. You know, eye for an eye. We’ll get into this later).
Not to be insensitive to those who’ve lost pets, but when you have to walk away from a thicket or creek without one of your discs, and it’s because you made a lousy throw, it kind of feels like coming home from the vet without your pet.
You feel empty. You’re mad at the world and mad at yourself.
You stew over your emotions. Place blame. On Dodgers fans or Latvians. Or whoever invented the machine that can make tortillas in mass quantities and the companies that are big enough to sell them for 99 cents a bag.
Makes me want to add extra bacon bits, and maybe creamy French dressing, to my salad.
They’re always asking. Inquiring. You know, wondering.
My oldest now has an i-Pod, so perhaps her days of inquiry have ended when it comes to dad. Why ask D-A-D when you can just type in G-O-O-G-L-E?
I take note, and each time I do get the privilege of being asked to explain something in our wonderful and complex universe, I’ll do what any (blogging) father would do – I’ll say, “good question, honey. Let me research it, and I’ll blog about it. I’ll send you a link.”