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Thrills and agonies of competition are shared by athletes' parents
We can all relate to the thrill of accomplishing something great, possible something never done before or something you’ve hoped and dreamed for since you were a small child.
For an Olympian, it all starts at the Olympic trials. It’s at the trials where many dreams come true, but also where many are shattered.
I couldn’t wait to watch the trials this year. I truly enjoyed listening to the personal stories of triumph, perseverance and athletes who overcame obstacles to reach the pinnacle of their sport, to be called an OLYMPIAN. I got choked up a number of times watching not just for those who succeeded in their goal but also for those who didn't.
As spectators we, too, go through a rollercoaster of emotions, and we typically feel for those who fail. As I watched the gymnastics Olympic trials, my heart ached for 2008 Olympians Alicia Sacramone and All-around Gold medalist Nastia Lukin as they fell short of qualifying for their 2nd Olympic team.
Of course I was one of millions of people across the United States who watched the swimming Olympic trials. It was so much fun to watch Ariana Kukors, an Auburn High School grad. Not only do we share the same alma mater high school, but we also share the same Chiropractor Dr. Greg Summers of Federal Way.
I met Ari during my run for the 2008 Olympics. I felt her disappointment back at the 2008 Olympic Swimming Trials where Ari missed making the team by eight one hundredths of a second. BRUTAL! But I shared in her joy and the joy of her family as she swam to her finish in Omaha, securing her place in history.
As a spectator, having no control, it’s the thrill and unknown that makes it so exciting. Unless you are the parent watching.
How many of you had the opportunity to watch TEAM USA gymnast Aly Raisman during the gymnastics team finals in London? She was fantastic to watch. But I have to say her parents were even more entertaining. As Aly went through her beam routine, her parents appeared to be going through the motions with her from the stands. I was laughing hysterically as I watched them, lean to the left, lean to the right, stretch up, squat down: all in unison. You could see their nervousness during the routine and then such incredible relief when the routine came to an end.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching them, go to youtube and simply type in "Aly Raisman’s parents
Many of us can relate to what it’s like watching our child, our pride and joy, perform. My daughter Camille is a cheerleader for Roach Elite All*Stars at our gym. My sweet little 7-year-old gets up on a stage with a team of little girls all in uniform and performs a dance/cheer routine with stunts and tumbling. All the while I sit there attempting to video tape the routine, and I say “attempt” because my heart pounds, my stomach aches, my hands shake and it’s all I can do to keep steady so the video I take can actually be played back later without making the viewer motion sick.
Can I repeat she is only 7 years old?
And it’s just mini level 1 cheerleading, NOT the Olympics. Heaven forbid my children actually reach an elite level of competitive sports!
What makes being a spectator so fun is that we can relate to these athletes. We go through the ups and downs with them, we all feel the energy and excitement as we cheer with joy and jump off our living room couch when our U.S. athletes stick their landing, cross the finish line, touch the wall, or score the last point to win the match!
And in the end, our own competitive spark is ignited as we feel inspired to go for gold in our family, in our marriage, at our work, and in all realms of life.
NEXT WEEK: In her final 2012 Olympics Column, Melanie Roach shares what it is like to come home from the Games...