I love the Olympics. Especially the summer Olympics. I could watch Olympic swimming all day, every day.
Our DVR is already full of every televised event so we can skip commercials and watch every televised event our heart desires.
The Olympics is one of the few things on television that I don’t feel the need to preview for our kids to watch (the commercials are another story, but as I mentioned, we skip them).
The Olympics are full of inspiring personal stories of strength, struggle and triumph, and the best of the best in every sport.
We know what to expect, and yet expect to be awestruck.
And we have been.
The 2016 Olympics are no exception. We get to be spectators of these events.
And we ARE glued to the TV and excited to watch these Olympians compete in the culmination of a lifetime of diligent training.
But one thing I do not EVER expect to see and hear in the Olympics is the audience ‘BOOing’ an athlete.
EVEN a controversial athlete.
I have heard booing on several occasions so far, often aimed at Russia under the scrutiny of systematic doping, but also at a few athletes known for controversy.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand these people have behaved in ways unbecoming to the Olympic spirit, and to their sports.
Some might say they deserve it.
This is the Olympics.
Do we as the audience get to then behave badly as well? Just because someone else did?
Are we, and those sitting in the stands, judge and jury?
I like to watch the Olympics with our son. He will cheer and get excited watching ANY sport. The Olympics is perfect for him. It is fun to watch and hear his joy and to see him amazed by what the best athletes the world has to offer can do.
But when our son hears BOO from the audience, even a 5-year-old knows it isn’t right.
It was hard to explain to him why they booed the Russian swimmer. It just isn’t his time to learn what doping means, or why it is frowned upon.
It is also hard to explain how at the Olympics (of all places), a swimmer ended up walking away crying after winning a silver medal.
Even though she did something wrong…do two wrongs make a right?
The only thing I could tell him is that the booing is not kind.
Booing has no place in the Olympics.
And in our family, we do not boo others.
I’m sad that the 2016 Olympics was a place that caused me to teach our son about judgement of others, and unkind words.
Instead, I want him to learn that the Olympics is an event known to embrace integrity, respect, encouragement, celebration and COMING TOGETHER. A time to teach our kids about good sportsmanship, hard work and friendly, but fierce competition.
The Olympic spirit is a beautiful thing – something that deserves to be preserved.
Let’s get back to the Olympic spirit that we all cherish.