from: Brambleheart: A Story About Finding Treasure
and the Unexpected Magic of Friendship
written and illustrated by Henry Cole
2016, Kathrine Tegen Books
As I thought about this week’s post, I tried hard to think of something I consider myself to excel in or be outstanding at. Not grammar with that sentence!
I was not very successful with my piano lessons, although I gained a great appreciation for the instrument and a real love of Chopin, especially his preludes, waltzes, and other dances, the simple ones and the complex.
Although I can usually spit back a phone number and I add and subtract my checkbook in my head (mostly), numbers are not my thing.
My daughters are both good cooks. I told my older daughter she must have a tongue in her brain that helps her think of ingredients that go well together. I don’t have that, but I can follow a recipe.
Common sense is not my forte, either. I do a lot of forehead slapping, you know, when all of a sudden some logical, elusive answer becomes crystal clear. I have lots of ideas, though.
I am not a champion athlete. You might remember I taught myself to roller skate with belts and pillows. And that ice-skating fiasco.
This week, lots of eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro. Kids, really, are participating for their chances of a lifetime to excel, to perform, to compete. Athletes, it’s said, love speed: objective, measurable, quantifiable times and distances and weights. Thousands of practice hours culminate in one race, one jump, one lap, one journey to the end of one balance beam, one barbell lift.
Did you know that table tennis is an Olympic sport? Go to https://www.olympic.org/sports for the complete list.
But what about the ones who come in fourth or fifth or merely finish? No medal. No national anthem. No lucrative contract with Nike, UnderArmour, SpecialK.
Gym was always my worst subject. In seventh or eighth grade we were supposed to master lots of equipment. Lucky for me I had friends in the class. Friends who really made themselves useful by holding my hand on the balance beam, giving me a boost over the pummel horse and pushing me over the uneven parallel bars, more than once, to perform my “routine.” If you think it was a hoot, you’re right! Even I was laughing, making it more impossible. My teacher was generous. She gave a D because I showed up. I didn’t chicken out or complain.
Maybe I’m a little bit of a champion after all.
Maybe all those athletes who come in fourth, fifth or even finish are champions, too.
Maybe we all are.
--stay curious! (and active)
The Summer Olympics will begin in Tokyo this Friday (7/23/21) and continue through 8/8/21. The athletes will compete with no fans in the stands. The award ceremonies will be contactless (they will hang their earned medals on their own necks.) Some athletes, coaches, and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.