Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Olympic gold, not yet for my Rylee

How I See It, By Joe McHaney
I blinked and now my daughter is a 2-year-old, as of last week.
   It's hard to imagine that it's been 24 months since Rylee came into this world, and now, she gets to enjoy her first summer Olympics.
   Like any father who is overly ambitious with goals for their child to become a sports sensation, I've tried to groom Rylee for the 2028 summer Olympics. She will be 18 then, and hopefully Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle, Wash., will win their bid as the host, so my travel expenses will be minimal to watch her win a gold medal.
   So, I did what any father would do in order to begin training for the Olympic Games last month -- I purchased a $10 plastic pool from Bi-Mart. I figured this was the first step to begin swim lessons. I was so excited to have Rylee jump in that pool and swim laps that we raced home and filled the pool for training.
   Rylee was excited, too. She came storming out of the house in a cute one piece - sorry boys, we're going to keep it that way, forever - and sprinted to her newly acquired aquatic center. This was going to be easy because I figured she would jump into the water and start swimming, and in 16 more years, I will be taking pictures of her receiving the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle.
   Just one problem, however, Rylee put one hand in the water and that was it. There was no splash and there was no perfect 10 dive, so much for Olympic diving. My stubborn daughter would not enter the pool and this went on for 10-15 minutes. I could not figure out why she wouldn't enter the water. Then, I dipped my foot into the pool and it was cold, very cold. Hey, what can I say, this is my first child. So, I dumped most of the water and decided to fill several buckets of water from the bath tub for a warmer temperature and it worked. Rylee finally entered the pool, but there were no swimming strokes, so much for Olympic swimming.
   Next up, we tried soccer. She looked at the ball and ran for her toy box. The same thing happened with volleyball. Who invented dolls anyways?
   I was disturbed. How was I going to groom an Olympic athlete? I mean they don't give medals for doll house or play kitchen competitions. What was I going to do?
   So, the next day we went to Juniper Hills Park where anyone with a young child in Madras knows you can play on two playgrounds at one destination. There is a short walk between the playgrounds that includes an Olympic training facility -- car cement bumpers.
   Those bumpers are perfect to train for the balance beam in gymnastics. Think I'm joking about training a toddler for gymnastics? Did you see the USA women's gymnastic team on television this week? No smiles and they looked like robots out there on a mission. When do you think they began training for the Olympics?
   Rylee handled the cement bumpers with ease. She was walking with full concentration and managed to conquer four or five, before a stupid butterfly nabbed her attention and she lost her balance for a nasty spill on the rocks. So much for Olympic gymnastics, I thought.
   Rylee is a tough cookie, though, and she bounced up and dusted herself off for more cement bumpers. But, that dang butterfly was in sight and Rylee took off after the flying beauty. At first, I was a bit dejected knowing gymnastics were out of the question, but as I watched her chase that yellow butterfly, she was moving pretty fast.
   So much for gymnastics -- I have an Olympic sprinter in the making!!!!