Oh the Winter Olympics! There is really something special about the winter games for us Canadians. Maybe it’s because we win more medals at the winter games than we do in the summer, or perhaps because winter is just part of us and the events are sports that a lot of Canadians participate in for fun. It really doesn’t matter the reason, the Winter Olympics are exciting! Events that may not draw huge interest from me normally, think curling for me and figure skating for my husband, are fun to watch and easy to get into when fellow Canadians are contending for some precious metal. I know at my house, my oldest daughter has a big list of sports she wants to try now, some of the more extreme ones I might try to change her mind about and push ones like cross-country skiing!
I love watching the games with my kids and there are so many lessons that can be taken away from sport, whether its sportsmanship or the importance of dedication. I have come up with a list of 5 things that I hope they learn from not just this Olympics, but from future ones as well.
1. Not Everyone Wins A Medal
We know that kids are growing up in a time of participation ribbons for everyone and playing sports without keeping score. I have my opinions on that and I think there are valid reasons for both keeping score and sometimes just playing for fun. That being said, I want me children to know that you aren’t always going to win, but when you do win it’s exciting and you should own it and be rewarded for it. They might not know the excitement of winning an Olympic medal, but it could be t-ball, soccer or a spelling bee, they need to accept that someone will win. Honestly, I want them to want to win and to have moments of great success and pride.
2. Some People Work Better In A Team And Some People Work Better As Individuals – But Everyone Gets Help To Achieve
Hockey, pairs figure skating, curling and bobsled are just a few examples of team events. These athletes rely on their team mates and have to work like well oiled machines to excel and be successful. When you are part of a team, you have strategies, you work together and need each other. We have all heard there is no “I” in team and I want my kids to hear it too. If you are going to be on a team be a good team mate.
Let’s face it, not everyone is a team player. Some people work much better as individuals. In the Olympics, you have the skiers, speed skaters, snowboarders, those brave athletes doing the luge and skeleton and many more individual events. These athletes rely on their own abilities and win and lose by their own performance.
What all these athletes have in common, is although they might compete as a team or solo, they all have coaches, parents, peers and fans that have contributed to their success. Not one athlete that makes it to the Olympics does it on their own. It’s like that Canadian Tire commercial with Jonathan Toews, that show his parents, the carpoolers, the fundraisers, etc…I want my children to know that getting and asking for help, taking advice and coaching is the best way for them to reach goals be it in athletics or academics.
3. Work Hard and Do Your Best – If You Don’t Meet Your Expections At Least Have No Regrets
As I have been watching some of the events, that ones that are actually on when I am not asleep thanks to the different time zone Sochi is in, I think “wow these athletics put it all out there”! I am amazed at some of the tricks the snowboards are doing (sometimes successfully sometimes with impressive wipeouts). Is it really worth it? What if they get hurt? When the risks pay off and their hard work results in a gold, silver or bronze it must be the most fantastic feeling in the world. I can imagine the worst feeling would be to know you didn’t try your best and you leave with the sick feeling of regret that you didn’t go for, you played it safe and that you didn’t put it out all out there. I want my kids to always try their best, work as hard as they can, and be dedicated. If their goals and expectations of themselves are not met in anything, at least I want them to have no regrets about not going for it.
4. Celebrate The Accomplishment Of Others
I want my kids to genuinely be able to celebrate the wins and accomplishments of others. I love that we sit around as a family and cheer and celebrate when a member of Team Canada does a fantastic job. My kids jump up and down yelling “Go Canada! Go Canada!” We don’t know these athletes,but we are excited for them! Of course, we love it when a medal is won, preferably in gold, but if a Canadian doesn’t win, it’s still important to celebrate their performance. When athletes from other countries win, I want my kids to also celebrate that great performance. To learn sportsmanship and not be sore losers or sore winners. I hope that one day, if a child of mine achieves a goal, their siblings will be able to celebrate with them wholeheartedly without jealously. And if someone does better than one of my children, I hope they are graceful losers and can be happy for others.
5. Be Proud To Be Canadian
There is a lot about Canada there is to be proud of and our athletes are a major one! I love seeing the country coming together cheering as one. I remember during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, how there was an energy that seemed to flow from coast to coast, as a nation we cheered for our athletes, everyone seemed to have a red maple leaf somewhere on their body and we were all proud to be Canadian. It doesn’t matter if you are from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia like Sidney Crosby, Ottawa, Ontario where Patrick Chan was born or from Regina, Saskatchewan the birthplace of Mark McMorris, we have only one team to cheer for, the best team from the best country! I love seeing my little ones wave their little paper Canadian flags waiting in anticipation during a medal ceremony to see the Maple Leaf get raised. I hope that when my kids grow up and if they choose to live outside of Canada, that Canada never leaves them. I never want my kids to be shy about being a Canadian, I want them paint red maple leafs on their cheeks and wave their maple leaf mittens, cheer as loud as they can and be proud.
I hope you are all getting to enjoy the Olympics, catching all the magical moments and not crying to much at all those emotional commercials (like this one from P&G). Let’s Go Canada!