The Big Games are a big deal in our house. It is, in its own right, a THING. Even though water is our jam, with swimming being a part of the summer games, we pretend that we know all the things about halfpipe and triple axels, as if we were snowboarders and skaters.
One must not begin to act like even curling doesn’t suck you in. Curling. If you don’t know what that is, just take my advice and check it out. We also claim to know how to correctly pronounce Pyeongchang, and that we know what country it is in. Because this is Texas where we know ALL the things. The truth is, there is just something to be said for athletes who spend years of their life devoted to the training of their sport.
Living in the Real World
A co-worker stopped by my desk today to let me know how much she loves watching the games. She said, “I thought to myself that one day I would see your kids there, and that would be as close to knowing a celebrity as I would ever get.” Bless her heart. I get these types of comments quite often. This is sort of what the world thinks of swimming when they aren’t in the world of swimming. Swimming is really only highlighted to the masses at the games. Do my kids have dreams of getting to the Big Games? Yes, they do. But what does that reality look like?
It Costs How Much to be the Next Michael Phelps?
Last week, while on a mini-vacation to Colorado, we stopped by the Olympic Training Center for a tour. The average cost for an athlete to live and train there is 40-50 k per year. They have athletes living there training for Tokyo. They have athletes living there training for Paris. At the minimum, the athletes must have gained enough recognition in their sport that their sport’s governing body recommends they attend there.
Secondly, they must somehow tackle the financial obligation to secure their spot, as well. While it seems so dreamy watching it at home, the road to actually becoming this type of athlete is marked with much sacrifice by the athletes and their closest supporters.
Navigating those lofty dreams from your children
Ground yourself in reality and go from there. Athletes peak early. Athletes peak late. Just because one may be a superstar at a young age doesn’t necessarily mean that will translate through the years as they age and vice versa. You should, however, be able to see the baseline of your child’s talents. And no, I’m not talking about the “My child is going to play professional baseball/football when they grow up” mentality that you have somehow stumbled upon at their ripe old age of 7 or 8 years old.
Do they actually have a heightened talent in their sport? Are you hearing encouraging words from their coaches that their abilities may be above the norm?If so, then you might be led to pursue some different measures to help them achieve getting to the next level.
Most kids, though, are going to play sports as a child, and that’s going to be about it. Don’t land yourself in the middle of hyping your kid up to a level that will crush them when they don’t reach it. Not everyone is going to be the best. Not everyone is going to win the trophy. Not everyone is going to the ULTIMATE LEVEL. That’s the reality. It’s just the nature of the beast.
What you can do is always encourage.
Encourage them to give their best and to have fun. Sports will teach them many valuable life lessons, no matter what their achievements. If they love it, feed the love in a balanced way. You don’t want to shoot their dreams down, but you don’t want to overshoot a most likely false reality either. Giving their best and having fun is what it’s always about anyway. You can never go wrong with that…whether their athletic road stops in high school, college, or takes them all the way to the podium.