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February 17, 2010

Should Our Children Care About the Olympics?

Skates I anxiously awaited the start of the Winter Olympics. I have always enjoyed watching the many hours of Olympic coverage since I was a kid. For two weeks every other year, it is possible to dream what it might be like to have the athleticism, dedication, and determination to master a sport.

Ice skating is my favorite. Maybe because I was an avid roller skater as a child. I bought my first pair of roller skates with two books of green stamps. They were the steel kind with the key that tightened a clamp around the ball of your foot. I still have a pair, in an old trunk, in the closet. Sidewalk skates is what they were called. For the clamp to stay in place, one needed a shoe with a separate sole. Sneakers wouldn't work. I ruined many a pair of penny loafers trying to perform a single axle around the driveway grease spot.

But when I was a child there were few distractions to the family evening television watching. There were no dvds, IPODS, Wiis, or any or other multi-letter technological gadget competing with the television. And limited extra-curricular activities consumed my free time - except a trip to the “indoor” skating rink every Saturday. When the Olympics were on, routine activities seem to be suspended while we watched in awe.

My daughter couldn't care less about the Olympics and what they represent. Maybe it's because she isn't an athlete. But I suspect it's because, we like most parents, have provided her too many other options to fill her free time. She would much rather be in her room playing Wizard101 on her computer.

As much as I enjoy watching, I wonder if the Olympics coverage has been diluted with the round the clock coverage. And there seems to be so many more sports included today. Maybe, for every new sport added, an old one needs to be eliminated. My vote for elimination would be any of the crazy combo sports like the biathlon. What does cross country skiing have to do with rifle target shooting? It's like having short track speed skater stopping after every lap of the rink to bowl a frame. I even have trouble figuring out why the downhill mogul athletes, who are racing against the clock, should have to complete aerials in the middle of the race. And I will never understand the inclusion of curling as an Olympic sport. I don't doubt that it is hard work, but so is trash collecting.

I am diverting here. I guess, like with everything in life, one has to exercise some parameters lest one spend day and night in front of the TV for two weeks. But I want my child to understand the Olympic spirit and I will continue to encourage her to watch with me, just maybe not the curling competition!

This is an original 50-something moms blog post. When she's not watching the Olympics, Debbie also blogs at Diaries of an Older Mom