Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Olympic Reflections

The other day, I found myself reading an article online about Gaby Douglas' HAIR. That's the point when I realized that perhaps the Olympic obsession has gone a bit too far.  But it's only once every 4 years, right?! But we are oh so tired from staying up for the late night coverage.

Faster! Higher! Stronger!  Here are some reflections on our Olympic experience as observers:

We let the kids stay up to watch the first half of the opening ceremony.  They loved it, but were in bed long before the parade of nations and torch lighting, which was what we were all looking forward to. Of course, Scott and I still needed to pull out Owen's new globe to find some of those island nations. Tuvalu?

The Olympics coincided with our summer swimming lessons and provided perfect motivation for Owen to work on his front crawl and start figuring out the side breathing.

We've been watching highlights of the events after breakfast or before the kids go to bed. I love watching Josh do his rendition of his favorite events. Tonight, he was doing laps of run-jump-run-jump-run-jump to mimic the hurdles. On the other hand, what's not so awesome is his rendition of the backstroke start that he is doing (repeatedly) off the side of his crib each night.

I found myself taking a much greater interest in the men's events than the women this year. Especially the men's gymnastics. I think it's because now I imagine my own boys dreaming about being Olympians instead of  imagining what it would be like to be an Olympian myself.  Man, those P&G "Thank You Mom" commercials really get ya. (Though I gotta say, I do have wicked respect for those women who have stepped away from their sport to start a family and then return to the Olympics with toddlers in toe... wowza!)

Thankfully, my boys took a great interest in the women's gymnastics, so we had plenty of excuses to rewatch the videos of those golden ladies.  They especially liked pronouncing their own judgements on each dismount.  When I showed the kids the highlights of the team final, Josh watched the vaulting and declared, "She sticked it! She sticked it! She sticked it!"

We are feeling the full effect of living in Oregon, and so close to "Track Town USA" in Eugene.  So many track athletes have ties to Oregon - many of them training in either Eugene or Portland, so each day's newspaper has a great recap of how "our" athletes (representing countries across the world) are performing. It was particularly remarkable to watch Mo Farah (Great Brittan) and Galen Rupp (USA) run as a team and go 1-2 in the 10,000 meters. And now, Ashton Eaton from BEND is in the middle of his Decathlon and we'll get another chance to watch Rupp in the 5,000. Go Oregon!

The boys loved Oscar Pestorius' "Robot Legs" - we think they're pretty cool, too.

After watching the 100M Final, Owen decided that his name should be "Owen Bolt Bolt" because he's sure that he can run faster than Usain Bolt. I'd like to see that.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

America's Game

Explaining the game of soccer to a 5 year old is pretty simple:
1. Both teams are trying to get the ball in the goal.
2. Only the goalie can use his/her hands.

That's it. Done. No other information is necessary to follow what's going on in the game.

Explaining the game of baseball to a 5 year old requires answering 947 questions... and counting. 

Thanks to Groupon, we took the boys to see the Salem Volcanoes (Single A team from the San Fran Giants) play a Sunday evening baseball game. It was the perfect summer evening - 80 degrees, sunny, seats in the 4th row behind the home team, and all the fun that comes with a small town baseball team. It's such a great slice of America to stroll into the stadium, stand for the anthem sung slightly off key, watch the local businesses with their various promotions, and sit back with a beer for a little baseball.

Of course, adding two curious kids to the mix quickly shifts the focus of the evening. Thankfully, there were also lots of other families around us answering the same never-ending slew of questions that come with trying to explain baseball to young fans. We set the stage fairly well and Owen understands the concept of "hit the all and run" just fine.  Of course, the FIRST BATTER of the game ended with the obscure rule that you can run on a swinging third strike if the catcher drops the ball. Um... sorry kids, can't really answer the "why" on that one... who wants a hot dog?!