I really didn’t want to write about the Olympics.
Really really really didn’t want to. But they’re everywhere. Unavoidable. And then with people like Michael Phelps making the Olympics awe-inspiring (as opposed to solely being the advertiser’s dream it usually is), I have to address it.
But, I refuse to do so in a conventional fashion. So I won’t.
It’s not that I’m anti-Olympics, because I’m not. I am all for competition and ambition and hard work.
But here’s my beef, and it’s not even so much with the Olympics as it is with life in general:
How do we know any of these people actually are the best in the world at what they do (Aside from Michael Phelps. He proved his point 8 times)?
Here’s a personal tale that might better articulate my thoughts and where I’m coming from:
I wanted to be an actress, and my mother (along with my family) will certainly tell you that I was a little ham/drama queen for most of my youth (cough life cough).
I wanted to be an actress so badly that I begged my mother to take lessons. The details of my talking her into letting me audition for an acting class are fuzzy, but I bet it relied heavily on a lot shrill pre-pubescent crying and empty threats.
I wanted to be an actress so badly, that I was impressed when I was told that Michael Manasseri (Gary, from “Weird Science”) was a graduate of the program I was looking in to. I auditioned for a woman in the basement of a church, and was told that I could be happily accepted into the “advanced” class, so long as I was comfortable being the youngest student.
I was an actress; I was comfortable in any role.
Long story short, classes were over and I was accepted into the “Showbiz Kidz” program (as I was told Michael Manasseri was, too), and that I was the youngest student ever admitted.
But my mother wouldn’t let me take the classes, and save for high school electives and after-school activities, my acting career ended then and there (not including the one time I tried out for “What Women Want” as the daughter, but was told that I was “too sexy.” I was fifteen.).
The thing is, back when I was taking this class, we didn’t have the Britney Spears’ and Lindsay Lohan’s and Paris Hilton’s that act as this generation of parents’ cautionary tale.
I’d be damned if my mom was scared of her kids winding up like Danny Bonaduce; she had bigger fish to fry.
No, no… I wasn’t allowed to take the classes because it conflicted with Hebrew School. I don’t want to be a Rabbi, I want to be an actress! I proclaimed. Then, for humor’s sake, I’ll assume she replied with “You’ll need God on your side if you don’t stop bugging me about this. The answer is no.” While that’s not a direct quote, it certainly gives a feel for what the answer was, and it’s also a fair representation of how she’d tell me.
But what if I had joined that program? What if “Showbiz Kidz” led to opportunities?
I could have worked my way up from commercials to movies. I could have gotten into a movie that showcased my range and talent. I could have had an Oscar by now. I could have been the name being dropped by some woman in a church basement to a child with a dream and her unimpressed mother.
Instead I work in PR. And write a blog, apparently. Both of which I enjoy very much, but who knows what could have been…
And that’s my point with the Olympics. Out there, there’s a 7-year-old kid running from a pack of 9-year-olds who are chasing him, but he’s building distance and gaining speed. If properly trained, if his desire was there to start, then cultivated and supported by a team (both fiscally and emotionally), maybe we’d be reading about him in 15 years as the first person to win however many medals.
But we’re never going to hear about this kid because he’s from a small town out in the middle of nowhere. His family doesn’t mind that he’s being chased (the teasing will give him a thick skin and will build character) and they don’t have the money or resources to train him.
This unknown kid with an unknown talent will remain unknown.
Or in Hebrew School. Or writing a blog.
The spirit of the Olympics is a tremendous one, but I think between sponsorships and endorsements and advertisements and scandals, we’ve lost sight of what it was originally supposed to inspire in its viewers: being the best.
Jackie for AMP3pr.com
Updated by Danielle Oct 30 2017
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