No, the two subjects of my title are not related. I don’t think.
Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996, and the AJC has been doing all these retrospective articles. Today, I logged in to see an article entitled “Whatever Happened to Kerri Strug?” I have to admit that one piqued my curiosity. Who doesn’t remember how she did that second vault — flawlessly — with an injured ankle? Who doesn’t remember her coach, Bela Karolyi carrying her out to the podium to receive her medal? Who doesn’t remember how her performance secured the gold medal for the American women’s gymnastics team — for the first time? I’m not at all into sports, and gymnastics is pretty much all I watch of the Olympics (if I watch any of it).
I watched the women’s gymnastics vaulting in real time. It was intense. Kerri Strug became the hero of the 1996 Olympics right before my eyes. Now Strug works for the U.S. Department of Justice, speaking to mostly at-risk kids about her Olympic experience. She also used to teach second grade. She’s pretty level-headed about her experience:
“I don’t think I can just live on that vault forever,” Kerri said. “Clearly I love going out and talking about it. It was the highlight of my life; it’s great to share that with everyone. I’m proud of it, but I have to grow, too, as a person.”
Here is a recent photo of Strug:
Another article in the Sunday Living section caught my eye, too. The article, “Brat Backlash,” discusses the annoyance of toddlers and small children who are not properly taught how to act in public. I don’t take my children to restaurants any fancier than Olive Garden, and I don’t take them to events that I know will bore them. I don’t take my kids to movies where the expectation is to be quiet (even though they are fairly quiet at the movies) — I take them to kids’ movies during matinee hours, when I know lots of other kids will also be present. If my kids decide to be brats in public and will not respond to correction, they are removed from the setting. Why other folks cannot be similarly considerate, I have no idea. Once when we were at TGIFridays, a family nearby had two children older than Dylan and Maggie. They were running around, getting in the way, making noise. Maggie kept looking at Steve and me. She asked us why the kids were not sitting down. She was openly bothered by how they were acting and even attempted to correct them. Knowing this behavior would be perceived as rude by the family (no matter how rude they were being), we shushed her and said quietly it was up to their parents to tell them to stop. Which, I might add, they never did (of course). I think if a five-year-old can look at a couple of kids and determine they are not behaving in public, adults should have no problem. The next time I see something like that happening, I plan to complain to the manager. My kids are not perfect, but they know how to behave when we go out somewhere, and I have been approached on more than one occasion and told by a complete stranger that my kids were well-behaved. I don’t have a regular babysitter, so if we have to go somewhere that isn’t at least somewhat kid-friendly, we just don’t go. We may not have planned our kids, but we chose to have them, and that means we take responsibility for them, including teaching them how to behave when they go out. I am constantly dismayed by the large number of parents who refuse to teach their children how to behave in public and refuse to leave them at home. Folks, you have to do one or the other.