This column originally ran in The Commercial Appeal on August 28, 2008. Enjoy!
Team Alley dreams of gold in 2024
Five events my kids would excel in if they were actual Olympic events:
- Sofa jumping
- Spilling things
- Bath procrastination
- Falling down
We've been watching some of the Olympics at home. Not all of it, mind you, because there is just too much.
Not even my children, who are Olympic-level television watchers, could be expected to direct so much time and concentration toward the hours and hours of coverage that are available.
The kids are learning a lot from these games, though. They learn about hard work and determination, teamwork and patriotism. And nutrition; they have learned that eating McDonald's every day for lunch will set you on the road to gold.
They've also learned that their mother doesn't care for their father watching women's beach volleyball.
There have been some athletic dreams in the past week and a half. My kids know their potential and have pictured themselves running and swimming on an Olympian plane. They've also been known, though, to dream of eating a wall of Pop-Tarts and of being contestants on "Deal or No Deal."
If they ever expect to compete, it would probably be in 2024 when they'll be 18 to 26 years old. Although Somerset, who is now 5, could probably join the Chinese gymnastics team for the 2012 games.
As long as the Olympics coverage runs some nights, it would probably seem even longer with my children winning, due to the photo session following each medal presentation. After every snap of the shutter, the kids would find it necessary to run down off the podium and see the picture in the camera's little LCD monitor.
I would allow my kids to go through the grueling training regimen of an Olympic athlete only if I was sure we could stay focused, as a family, on what is truly important.
I would dress my son up like Cap'n Crunch and push him into the deep end of an Olympic-sized pool if I thought it would get him a Michael Phelps-sized payday.
You want exposure? I've got a 5-year-old I'd strap to the back of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and paint Coca-Cola red for his next shot at the 100-meter record.
No major sporting event like this is scandal-free, of course, and the 2024 games would be no exception. The difference is you'd have my kids there to let the officials know who is doing what. To tattle on Australia should they take Uganda's spot on the couch when Uganda gets up to get a drink from the kitchen, or on Albania should they call Botswana a "stupid head."
Just rest assured that my kids would be there to give that extra amount of effort when it comes down to it, when they need to cross the finish line or pass off the baton, because they'd understand that the only way to come back home is with a gold medal around their necks.
And a Nike check in their pocket.