The Summer Games

The Olympics is blowing my mind. On the one hand, you have a sport’s top athletes competing in the same events our children compete in - the 100 meter freestyle, for example, is a staple of most summer swim meets. The degree of difficulty doesn’t change - it’s using a specific skill to move through water, and if you do it faster than the other swimmers, you get the gold — or the first place ribbon at your local swim club. Same same. Then there are the subjective sports like diving, gymnastics, dressage - where degrees of difficulty layered on top of skill and precision can elevate an athlete to the top levels. Team sports and relays are in a whole other category. And as different as each competition is, one thing remains the same: all of these athletes are someone’s kid.

Win or lose, the cameras always go immediately to the families, gathered in living rooms or high school gyms in their hometowns, on the edge of their seats, coordinated tee shirts and a dad with a clipboard writing things down (always be improving!). I can’t stop thinking about the families, a world away from their often teenage children in the highest stress environment of their lives. It’s the middle of the night there. Do some of these medalists still travel with a stuffie from their childhood bed? Do they like the light on in the hallway at night?

Good luck to all the athletes - the ones on NBC Olympics and also the ones getting up and doing their thing right here - surfing the inlet on a misty early morning, or going out for a run in their neighborhood, or blocking a PK for their team, or swimming their heart out in summer swim team. To us, they are all Olympians. To us, they are all the best of the best.

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