Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Human Element to the Olympics

When I watch the Olympics I am always impressed with the talents and abilities of the athletes. I can only dream of doing the sort of thing that they do. Even though I know the Olympians are human beings, compared to the average man, what they do is so awe-inspiring that it is somewhat super-human.

Because I have that frame of mind, I really like it when I see stories about the athletes' personal lives. It brings them back down to the human level. Here are some of my favorites:

  • The gymnast from Uzbekistan whose son had leukemia. She moved to Germany to get him better medical care and competed for them as a thank-you despite being in her thirties.
  • An American who was profiled in a commercial whose daughter has spina bifida. Unfortunately, I don't know anything else about him, but was touched by that.
  • The weight lifter from Germany whose wife started a savings plan to come to Beijing to watch him compete. She was killed in a car accident several months ago, so when he was awarded the gold medal on the podium he held up her photo for everyone to see.
  • The gymanst from Poland who held up a photo of his son immeadiately after he won the gold medal.
I especially liked the last two because by holding up pictures of their loved ones in their moment of glory, it showed that the medals weren't just about them. They wanted the world to know about these other people whom they cared about and who in one way or another contributed to their victory. I have read of many athletes who said that their victory wasn't for them but for their father, mother, child, etc., and I would rather these people win than the ones (who will remain nameless) who are so arrogant or prideful.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Calling All Olympics Fans

For those of you who love the Olympics, you might be interested in looking at these pictures of Lego reproductions of the Olympic venues. Be sure to show any Lego-fan children you might have.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Internal Struggles at Mass

I am a firm believer in parents teaching their children about the Mass. This includes taking their children to Mass with them as a family, teaching them how to behave (and removing them if necessary), and trying to explain what is happening on the altar as Mass progresses.

That being said, today my will screamed against it. I didn't mind taking Reeda to the vestibule. I didn't mind walking around carrying her for most of the service. I didn't mind that by the time she was content there weren't any seats left. I found a large stack of bricks which were an extension of the wall and sat down on them. Here is what I did mind: before I knew what happened Reeda had pulled the fire alarm. I tried to turn it off, but no luck. I was mortified. The vestibule was packed with people and they were all staring at me.

As the alarm continued to go off and the usher couldn't find the key to silence it, I struggled not to cry. All of a sudden, I was overcome with the desire to go to Mass all by myself. I wanted to concentrate on it without a child's interruption. I wanted to be able to open my prayerbook and read a communion prayer in peace. But my intellect was able to triumph over my will. I knew that I was doing exactly what I ought to be: training, teaching and exposing my children to the most beautiful prayer on earth.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Let's Play Catch Up

It's been longer than I thought since I last posted. I think of something of interest to post about and then when I sit at the computer I forget what it was.

One of the highlights of the last few weeks was the wedding of Reeda's godparents. It was one of the most beautiful weddings that I have ever attended. They are such a beautiful couple and I am very happy for them. I must admit though, that I am slightly envious that they were able to go to England for their honeymoon. :)

After having several disastrous potty training experiences with Happy Boy, we are now aggressively trying to teach him where to go. This time is is working amazingly well (so far). However, I still put a diaper on him when we go out. I need to psyche myself up before I take him out without "protection".

We have all enjoyed watching the Olympics for the past few days. Having the TV out is a novelty for Happy Boy and he is just enthralled by it. He will watch anything on it, so I have to guard the remote carefully. We have watched enough swimming that Happy Boy now recognizes Michael Phelps. (The only person he is happier to see on television is Barack Obama. Blech!) By far, the most exciting event so far was the swimming relay with the Americans and the French. I love watching the gymnastics, but am getting increasingly annoyed at the (apparent) bias in the judging. *

UPDATE: I forgive the judges since the Americans scored better than the Chinese when all was said and done. ;)

*I should note that as I write this I am watching the women's gymnastics all-around competition.