When I was a young girl, I dreamed of being Nadia Comaneci.
You may recall that Nadia was the first female gymnast to score a perfect 10 in the 1976 Summer Olympics. She also went on to win two gold medals in the 1980 Summer Olympics.
I was obsessed with Nadia.
I got a leotard. I lined up the picnic table benches in my backyard and pretended they were a balance beam. I practiced back bends and hand stands.
However, much to my dismay, I later discovered that one cannot be five feet 10 inches tall as I am and be an Olympic gymnast.
I could dream though, couldn’t I?
Now my children are at about the age I was when my Olympic dreams began. We have been watching the current London Olympic games as much as we can.
There are several things I love about the Olympics. The first is that we see sports we would never normally get to watch, such as kayaking, rowing, synchronized high diving and gymnastics.
The second thing I love is that we see athletes from all over the world, all speaking different languages but all playing their respective sport the same way.
The third thing I love about the Olympics is that I get to brush up on my geography. Last week, I dusted off our globe so that we could find the location of certain countries that are participating. But first, I had to figure out the various countries’ three-letter abbreviations.
Who are they playing, Mom?
What does that stand for, Mom?
I think its Algeria.
Where is that, Mom?
Let’s go to the globe! Where exactly IS Algeria? Note: Located on the North African coast, not to be confused with Albania, which is located in Southeastern Europe, on the Adriatic Sea.
I am also not so good with the exact locations and names of the relatively new Eastern European/Western Asia countries, such as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. At least with these I can say “They didn’t teach that when I was little” as my excuse for not knowing where they are.
I can’t believe there are only a few days left until the Olympic flame is extinguished. I will be sad to see the games end.
Since they started, I have watched my kids create homemade versions of Olympic events, such as the long jump and the gymnastics floor routine. Just this morning, my husband gave my daughter a 9.3 for her floor routine.
Okay, so I am pretty sure they won’t be Olympic athletes, but the games have inspired them to dream; inspired them to think about the world and geography; inspired them to learn a little about history and past Olympic athletes and inspired them to think outside the box a bit.
I just love the Olympic games. And I think I have successfully brainwashed my kids to love them, too.