Tuesday, July 31, 2012

olympic fever

I interrupt our road trip coverage to bring you a story about the 2012 Olympic Games.

Graham got his first glimpse of the games today in the workout room at our hotel. As I critiqued the synchronized divers while stumbling my way on the elliptical machine, Graham studied their every move. His face did not turn from the TV screen for even a second. He was mesmerized, frequently shouting things like,  "aaah yah, oohya ah!"

After my invigorating elliptical workout, we hit the hotel pool where Graham attempted to perform several tricky jumps and dives. One time, he "dove" in belly first, swam under water, then came up doing an impeccable "freestyle" stroke that I'd never seen him do before and proclaimed, "I did it just like the swim racers, Mom!"

Shortly after his Olympic triumphs in the pool, we returned to our room to watch some gymnastics. Even though we didn't have Bob Costas helping us sort things out and get excited about Team USA, I still found myself standing up and chanting, "U-S-A, U-S-A!" Graham joined me and added his own sound effects, "Yaaahh boom! Ahhh ya!"

After they won, we celebrated with more chants , and then he attempted several flips and rolls on the hotel bed. He said with pure awe in his voice, "Mom, they did this stuff up in the air!"

I looked up the rest of the schedule for the evening and saw that there would be some swimming finals, including Michael Phelps, so I told Graham he could stay up past his bedtime to watch. Excited was he, and excited was I. When the breaststroke came up, I introduced Graham to Michael Phelps. Since Bob Costas wasn't available in Germany, I told him all about how Phelps won everything at the last Olympics and how he is the greatest swimmer in the whole wide world. Graham was beyond thrilled. I was certain Michael Phelps would not disappoint.

We bit our nails and chanted more "U-S-A!" And then Graham yelled, "It's a tie!"

"No, Graham. No. The South African won. Michael Phelps got second place," I said with teary eyes.

Graham didn't understand. That's not how it was supposed to happen. USA wins, right? No. No. Not always...

"Time for bed, buddy."

Tears began streaming down his face. He tried to fight them, but he couldn't. He laid his head on his pillow, crying, "The green guy wasn't supposed to win. It looked like a tie. The green guy...."

And so our night ended with explanations about how winning isn't everything and yada yada and "Did you see how Michael Phelps gave the green guy a handshake and told him 'good job?' The green guy deserved to win, bud."

"But, Mom? Why did the USA guy throw down his cap at the end?"

"Well, Graham, because he was disappointed and upset and that's okay to be disappointed... There will be more races, and I'm sure he'll win one of them."

Come on, Phelps. I'm counting on you. 


  1. Oh...it was heartbreaking...I'm right with you, Graham. Great lesson teaching Mama! There is something so heart-warmingly fantastic about hearing and following chants for the good ole US of A...