Parents in the Penalty Box: Olympic Aftershock

Now what? The ping-pong paddle I had surgically attached to my 9-year-old Brent’s hand is the least of my problems. I’ve got Wang living in the guest room and there’s the whole issue of his guaranteed 7-year-contract.

Former Olympic table tennis players don’t come cheap, and that’s not even counting the first class plane fare from China.

Yeah, I got caught up.

With Obama and Oprah headed to Copenhagen, it was a done deal. Right? The Olympics were coming to Chicago, and one of my kids was going to participate.  Not just selling pins or parking cars, but walking into Soldier Field in an official Nike uniform as a member of the United States Olympic Team.

The networks would eat us up. The hometown boy done good with the fabulous, youthful mom. Yeah, I also preemptively bought the “gold package” at the Med Spa. By 2016, my uber-white teeth will light up a runway at O’Hare, and I’ll have so much filler in my face that I’ll be part cyborg, but darn, I would have looked great on TV.

Okay, I’m not full-on delusional. I knew that the “marquee sports,” basketball, track, swimming, were pretty much out of reach for the three Saltzman boys, or really any mere mortals. Height, or lack there of it, doesn’t necessarily determine athletic success, but each of my boys measures in the lowest 10th of their age group. Blissfully drunk at my wedding, I failed to compute that the husband’s 5’2″ uncle and 5’4″ grandfather could possibly contribute to the gene pool.

But you don’t need to be tall to play ping-pong. You don’t even need to leave my basement. We’ve got a table. My kid could go to the Olympics and I wouldn’t EVER have to carpool.

I’m sure once Wang learned English, we’d all have become fast friends. Brent didn’t like most of the boys in third grade anyways. That’s why I picked him over his two brothers to be the ping-pong prodigy. The rigors of Olympic training wouldn’t cramp his pretty much non-existent social life. Plus, he’s got mad skills. Like he beat me 21-2, and that was him playing left-handed (he’s a righty).

But I had a plan B, too.

The archery target blends right in with the white pines and arbor vita in the back yard. Hello, there are 64 spots for men in Olympic archery. Jack and Billy can hit bulls-eyes most of the time, and the arrow in the neighbor’s cat incident is just a distant memory. They don’t’ even notice the guy dressed like Robin Hood who will be sleeping in their top bunk for the next 7 years.

The Plan C will just have to come later.

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