Goshen News, Goshen, IN

October 29, 2012

Columnist makes bid to be Team Mom for 2016 Olympics

By RHONDA SCHROCK
COLUMNIST

— That was quick. For four years, you waited with bated breath as weeks and months crept by. You had birthday, birthday, birthday and, well, birthday, and then it was time.

In grand ceremonial style, the Summer Games returned. Then, in what appeared to be no more than the click of a remote and a couple of flip-flops on the couch, they were done.

At our house, the Olympics are heralded with varied emotions. There’s relative indifference from the 20-and-under crowd. From the person with the inner pom-pom girl, there’s excitement, patriotic shouting and enthusiastic handsprings. And from the fellow who was born with no pom-poms, inner or outer, there’s dejection, resignation and deep, gale-force sighing accompanied by longing glances at the remote control.



As always, it was a season of drama. Of highs and lows, exhilaration and heartbreak. Of pushing one’s self to the limit for mom and country. All of which those athletes did as well.

Oh, there was drama, alright. Who wasn’t riveted, bolted to the furniture at the sight of Mr. Bolt, Jamaican legend, setting records in a blur of heels and elbows?

Then there was the U.S. women’s relay team who, as Dad Yoder would say, “kicked in the afterburners” and won the gold. The entire nation rose as one, grinning along with Carmelita Jeter as she crossed the finish line, face splitting straight in two. Even Mr. No Pom-Poms cracked a smile.   

There was drama, too, in the North Greenwich Arena where the world’s top gymnasts gathered to vault, leap, twist, swing and do the splits. Again, the girls of Team USA did us proud, bagging the gold. And again, the nation came together, beaming in a collective display of molars and gums when little Gabby Douglas won the individual competition.

Cameras that cut away from the action showed the parents of the athletes in the stands. A few of them, I noted, were performing rudimentary gymnastics in tandem with their offspring.



I’d seen this before. It was purely reflexive, I knew, having watched Mr. Schrock at Kid Kaboom’s wrestling matches. He’d pinned more than a few imaginary opponents from his spot in the bleachers. I’d finally suggested an application of Liquid Nail to the seat of his britches, a suggestion he’d swiftly declined. Now, it appeared they were needing Liquid Nail in London.

I jotted it on my list of things to take along in case they approved my application to be Team Mom in the 2016 Olympics.

Come to think of it, they hadn’t gotten back to me on that. And I was still waiting to hear from Mr. Rogge, IOC Chairman, about the suggestions I’d made for beefing up his Games.

How long did a girl have to wait to get a phone call from these guys? Last go-round, I’d proposed the addition of some new events that would, I said, increase participation and interest exponentially. As it stood, the scope of the Games was awfully narrow, limited to teens and twenty-somethings who were barely shaving and had 2.5 percent body fat.

It had been a whole lotta years since I’d fit those demographics. Miss Four-Baby-Forty-Something wasn’t going to the Olympics as anything but a seat warmer and professional shouter. Not unless they opened up the Games to mothers, which is what I’d suggested to Jacques, the chairman.

I’d gone so far as to suggest it to Gov. Romney in an interview that hadn’t occurred just yet, asking him to pass it on to his recalcitrant buddy on the committee. “Diaper changing should be an Olympic sport.” This was the message I was trying to convey to Mr. Rogge as I waited, breathless, for the call that never came.



From a marketing standpoint, it was brilliant. Women of all ages, sizes and shapes could participate. Men, for that matter, could, too. Most folks had never worked a balance beam or cleared a set of hurdles, but they’d changed a diaper or two. They’d tune in, these average citizens, to watch a competition they could relate to for once. Overnight ratings would spike, and dollars would pour in to the networks.

It was a win-win-win from all directions. For one thing, preparation for this sport did not require an expensive move across the country to train for months in high-dollar facilities like American skaters did. Training was done right in one’s living room. Or nursery. Or bedroom. Or park bench. Wherever the little doobers were using their Pampers, that’s where you practiced.



Furthermore, there were no ridiculous uniforms needed, no tiny outfits that appeared to be shrink wrapped onto the contestants. Competitive diapering could be done in a roomy sweat suit, bathrobe or a favorite pair of blue jeans. For men like Mr. Schrock who abhorred spandex, this was a big deal. For not-2.5 percent-body-fat women like me, it was a really big deal.

I still hope to hear one day from the IOC. I’m nothing if not optimistic. Meanwhile, I’ll content myself with counting down to the next Summer Games. And giving thanks that I’m done with that diapering training program.