Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Olympics 2012 Coverage at the Louis House

We chose to cancel cable last year and just subscribe to Hulu Plus and Netflix for a grand total of about $17 per month plus internet of $51 vs our prior cable/internet bill of approximately $125-$150/month. We just don't watch TV enough to justify such an expense and we were trying to find ways to cut back. Yes, there are some things that I miss, like A&E, Discovery Channel, Lifetime, HGTV and the Food Network. But there are so many options to watch current programming on various websites, Hulu or Netflix, that I don't miss too much. Well, except for the fact that I really don't even keep up with what is on TV lately, so I do miss a lot but I'm not even aware of it.

All of that lead to me stating that yesterday was the first time we turned on coverage of the Olympics. The kids have been pretty run down, not napping and sleeping very well and are fighting runny noses and coughs, presumably from allergy issues. Since there is always so much to get done around the house, it was a good time to have "family day" (Emma's declaration) around the house. The kids were content playing on their Leapsters, opening their restaurant and even watching some of the Olympics.

When I first mentioned turning it on, they asked "What is the Olympics?" and I had to Google what to discuss with preschoolers, especially since I didn't have a great explanation prepared. I mean I "know" what the whole idea is, sort of, but didn't exactly know how to put it into terms that the kids would understand. And then I wasn't even sure I knew what they REALLY were. Sporting events that are competitive between countries all over the world. These athletes are the best of the best. But I just don't really think about exactly what they mean.

And then, when I first turned it on, it was coverage of tennis. I don't know that they had ever watched tennis, but they were pretty interested and asked all sorts of questions, mostly about the people on either side in the very tall chairs. And some thoughts about the sweat band worn by one player.

Later, there was a story on the 1972 gymnast, Olga Korbut, who won a number of gold medals for Russia. She also was the reason behind a huge interest in the United States for girls to start taking gymnastics. It became quite a big industry here as a result of witnessing her amazing performances. They played back some of her routines on the uneven bars, the floor and one other event (balance beam?). Again, the kids were all pretty interested, especially the girls. What I didn't plan for was their interest in imitating the floor routine. Kendall decided to do all sorts of jumping and diving onto the floor and rolling into a somersault along with rolling over on her side and doing dance moves at the same time. They also tried their hand at the uneven bars by using their plastic Angelina Ballerina ballet bar. Um, no. I don't think so. That was a disaster waiting to happen. In fact, Kendall fell over with it on top of her as I was walking out of the room. She didn't get hurt, but didn't come running to me either since she knew she had been warned. I just kept walking and started praying that we weren't headed to the ER.

Daddy sat down with them for lunch and watched the Equestrian event. What an interesting, albeit it a little slow, event to watch with them. They were simply fascinated watching a rider get the horse to jump over fences, small ponds and other items that were London-inspired, such as a double-decker bus replica (I think it was just the ends of a fence that were decorated this way, but I didn't get a good look). They would make the "aaawww" sound, as did other spectators, when a horse would accidentally knock over a rail of the fence or dip a hoof in the water.

During dessert that evening (homemade peach cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream...way to go Daddy!) we watched the women's diving event. We did let them know ahead of time that these women practiced a lot in pools that are very deep in order to dive off of the board. They loved watching the women jump into the air (spring board diving) and then come down doing all sorts of twists, flips and turns just before splashing (and sometimes not splashing very much at all) into the water.

All in all, I felt really good about the TV time for once. Troy and I remember when were were growing up, everything else sort of took a time out for the television coverage of the Olympics. We, of course, didn't have over 100 channels to watch to distract anyone's attention, but even the regular channels just didn't have much that competed as they typically played re-runs of shows. The whole family would usually get together and watch some events. It was certainly nostalgic to hear the theme song played yesterday and I hope to keep them interested during many more Olympic gatherings in the future. There were definitely a lot of ideas related to celebrating and having parties or outside games inspired by the Olympics which will be lots of fun as they get older.

Will watching the games move them to try tennis, water polo, horseback riding, gymnastics or diving? Who knows. But it was certainly time well spent and that was good enough for me.

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