Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Behind Every Olympic Hero is a Mom or Dad..

The other night, Michael Phelps climbed out of the pool after breaking his own records and said to the reporter that he was looking for his mom. She's waving frantically from the stands trying to get his attention.

Beach volleyballer Misty May sprinkled her mom's ashes on the sands in Athens when she won her Gold medal. She plans to do the same this time because she shares that moment with her. Her mother was a beach Her father was watching her play from the stands, teeth clenched and watching every move to discuss afterwards.

Shawn Johnson's parents supposedly mortgaged their home twice to make sure she had coaching. There are dozens of other athletes and parents who had to move closer to the training facilities.

The commitment of fathers of the Williams sisters and Tiger Woods are legendary.

Athletes don't get to the Olympic stadium by themselves. There's a mom who's been driving to every swim meet, practice and championship event. She's been out selling cookies and wrapping paper to raise funds for the team's new uniforms. Let's not forget the financial commitment for lessons, equipment and general registration fees. Who's going to pick up? Who can drop off?

I'm not raising an Olympic athlete, and I'm exhausted!

This article in the New York Times about Deborah Phelps was absolutely moving. It's critical for a parent to find the potential in a child and channel that talent. As a single mother, she had to believe in herself and her son when all the experts were telling her the opposite.

I saw her on the Today show where she pointed out that she's not the manager, not the coach, but the mother. That is the key to success.

Remember, there's only one letter between "mothering" and "smothering"! There are plenty of sports moms and dads who are entangled in their child's wins and defeats. And, pressuring their children unbelievably. However, it seems the key is to know what your role is and to assure your child that you are there no matter what the final score is.


Anonymous said...

How do you know that you are not raising a future Olypian?

Sumita said...

How true Ashini. We really want our kids to play sports but I'm already pulling my hair out with one kid in swimming, soccer etc.