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Why Every Mom Wants Her Kid to Be an Olympian

Jan 15, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Five minutes from my home is Canada Olympic Park, the jewel of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
 
Twenty-five years after the games, it’s a training facility for world-class athletes and average folks – a place to ski, skate and mountain bike.
 
And it’s us average folks who always s-l-o-w-l-y drive by the sandwich board in C-O-P’s (as Calgarians call it) back parking lot and linger for a few moments.
 
“WANT TO BE AN OLYMPIAN? Luge wants you!! Luge is recruiting kids age 8-14 years. Space available in upcoming camps.”
 
Most parents I’ve met who’ve seen the board will admit that, for a few seconds, they’ve toyed with putting their son into luge so that he could go to the Olympics. I know a few parents who’ve even taken it a step further and made a phone call.
 
Every mother would love to see her son or daughter compete at the Olympics games.
 
And it’s OK to admit it.
 
My seven-year-old son plays novice hockey. They are hundreds of seven year olds who are more skilled – just in Calgary. But that doesn’t stop me and my husband from having discussions about whether we’ll put him in power skating and three-on-three hockey this spring once his regular hockey season ends.
 
Once spring sessions are over, it’ll be time for summer hockey camps and more skating lessons.
 
Why invest so much time and money in one activity? Because every mom wants her child to know what it feels like to be brilliant at something – but brilliance is a game of raw talent, luck and, most importantly, hard work.
 
I’ve never been brilliant at anything. I’m good at some things. I can make people laugh, bake a decent banana bread, and I’m on top of my son’s school work.
 
When I was in elementary school, I was a good runner. My favourite childhood memory is running an 800-metre race and sprinting first across the finish line into my dad’s arms.
 
In 1988, I was one of a handful of kids in my Oshawa, Ont., school who were picked to do an Olympic torch run to celebrate the Games.
 
I was good at running, but I never achieved brilliance.
 
You hear stories of kids who were good at one sport and then – bam! They get pulled into another sport and they ride it to the top of the podium.
 
Canada’s Scott Moir and his partner Tessa Virtue will be in Sochi next month defending their 2010 Vancouver Olympic gold ice-dance medal. Did Moir know the second he first stepped on the ice he was going to be an ice dancer? No.
 
“He began figure skating lessons to improve his hockey skills,” his bio says.
 
Moms just want what’s best for their daughter or son.
 
Maybe it’s the Olympics or maybe it’s playing happily on a novice hockey team.
 
Heck, maybe it’s luge.
 
But it’s that moment: That ear-to-ear smile when he knows that, even for the briefest of moments, there was brilliance.
 
 
Sarah Crosbie lives in Calgary with her seven-year-old son and her husband. She has two adult stepchildren in Ontario. She’s half of The Jeff and Sarah Show on Calgary’s Classic Rock, Q107. She can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. MT. Follow her on Twitter @SarahCrosbie.