Every four years the world gets inspire by the Olympics. That's why we're such an inspired bunch right now.
The successes in Athens will send kids and their parents scurrying toward the gymnastic centers and pools across the country. It might not be gold medals we're dreaming off - but it just looks so darn fun to get out there and compete.
Despite the hype over gold medals, there's still that undeniable pride for the athletes who do their best - even if they don't win eight gold medals.
And it's a matter of health. As a bunch we Americans are getting fatter and lazier. What waste - and I can say that as someone who fits into that category.
Healthy living habits start early and usually it starts at home. I wonder how many potential Olympic athletes will never make it to the games because they couldn't put down the video game controller long enough to ride their bike around the neighborhood. Plenty I bet.
We don't usually have to run our boys off from in front of the TV or video game. They have and enjoy them, but it's in small doses.
I'll share one of Zack's little secrets. He has a few friends who want to play video games for hours on end. He's learned to sneak around and unplug the machine so his friends have no choice but to go outside and play. Just the other day I heard a little boy say to Zack as they came down from the playroom: "I bet your Dad can fix it." To which Zack matter-of-factly declared: "No, he doesn't know how to fix things."
All that while Dad was in the garage rebuilding a car engine.
And a few minutes later they were out in the backyard playing badminton.
Ed and I have worked to keep the boys active. We push sports participation. They learned how to swim, ride bikes, throw balls and all that when they were young. We live in a neighborhood where they can ride their bikes and there's a park down the street. We've encouraged friendships and playing.
We have a trampoline (yes, I know they're controversial), a basketball goal, skates and scooters. The badminton nets stays up all summer.
From the time they were little they've been in some sort of sport. No serious pressure, just something to keep them using their minds and keep their bodies moving, and to teach them teamwork, hard work and dedication.
Ben has picked his sport - swimming. This year he'll swim everyday for at least 90 minutes. And it's hard, competitive swimming. That's a lot of swimming for an 11-year-old. But he loves and thrives on it. He's at his best when he's very busy. It forces him to be organized and he doesn't have time to think of ways to torment his little brother. Last year his grades actually went up when he went from swimming three days a week to everyday.
Zack's finding his sport. Right now he's trying out for pitcher on his baseball team. This will be his first year of kid pitch. And he's taking tennis lessons. And he says he wants to join Ben on the Aiken-Augusta Swim League. But we'll wait for that - two sports at one time is already one over our limit.
Whatever he does it's fine, as long as he's doing something.
They love it when we play with them. Neither boy can beat me in badminton yet. And while Ben can certainly beat me in swimming, he has to try. I've still got Zack in the pool though. They love it when we walk together - and even more when we ride bikes.
Frankly, I love it too. It's something I should do a lot more of.
I hope these lessons stay with them throughout their lives.
I laughed when I read Jennie Montgomery's column this month. I knew she would write about her son Zack going to middle school. We had been sharing first week of school stories. Her Zack and my Ben are the same age. They're at different schools, but our experiences were much the same.
It's a tough transition for mom. It's not so tough on the kids.
Jennie's always funny and she has a way of pegging those little slices of life so well.
I hope to see you at the Arts in the Heart Festival in downtown Augusta on September 17-19. We'll be in the Children's Area at a booth. Kids will have a chance to draw a picture of the family. We'll pick the best and use it for the cover of the October issue. We'll run several of the best inside the section that month.
Hope to see you there.