The Games are coming! I am super excited about the Games starting this weekend. It is amazing to watch the best of the best compete in sports at this level. I have been looking forward to them starting after how much fun I had watching the gymnastics trials with my five-year-old.
I let her stay up late and we snuggled up on the couch under a blanket watching the dreams of other little girls come to life. She asked a lot of questions about the rotation of the different event elements, how they got so good at it and what happened to the girls that didn’t make the team.
As a parent, I realized that so much more was happening here. While we were watching the tucks, tumbles, leaps and jumps that these young girls had worked so hard on, my daughter was learning here. There were some take-a-ways from the trials, and our conversations that I was excited for her to experience.
First, that hard work matters. Hard work is what got them the skills to compete at such a high level. Hard work is what will help in almost any situation in life. So while I will use the example of applying hard work to the cartwheel that she so desperately wants to master, in my mind I know it is an analogy for her life. Let’s just hope she follows me down that path. The life lesson may be too deep here but it is a start on the path of the importance of hard work.
Second, I love me a good participation trophy. In total transparency, my child is not athletic but she always wants to participate and has a blast. Yes, that is really the more important part, but the participation trophy saves me the tears and the headache at the season’s end. However, I know that is not how life works and that she will not get the participation trophy in life. She has to work for her accomplishments and there is not always a shiny trophy at the end. It was a good conversation opportunity for us to talk about things such as not making the team or not winning.
Lastly, I want her to see the strength and determination to continue in these athletes. In the gymnastics trials, there was fall after fall on the balance beam. She watched these girls shake off the error and jump back on the beam. They didn’t cry and run off. They didn’t ask for their mommy. And, they didn’t say it wasn’t fair. They owned the mistake and they moved on. After each fall, she saw the girls take a minute to shake it off and then get right back on the beam. She saw them faced with challenge, frustration and disappointment and then rise to the moment like the role models that they are and move forward.
Throughout the coverage of the gymnastics events, with each success and with each failure of the athletes the camera panned over to the stands to show the parents. The parents were smiling ear to ear and beaming with pride and excitement for their child. She got to see the parents celebrate in the accomplishments of their children no matter the outcome of their performance. I hope she understood in that moment that those parents were proud of their child because for just being themselves and trying their best.