Friday, August 8, 2008

The Olympics!

We're all already to geek out on the Olympics here. We love seeing all the different countries, and getting a taste of the competition--from the popular sports like running and swimming, to the weird and obscure ones. Synchronized swimming, anyone? How about Ping-pong?

One thing we do as a family is use the Games as a fun time to emphasize geography. We have a globe and a world map out, and during the the Opening Ceremonies tonight, the kids are going to race to find each country first on the maps.

We also pick our favorite nations to root for (besides the USA of course.) And we're planning on making ethnic food from our favorites the next two weeks. Should be fun!

Here's our picks:

Cathy - Ireland (not a whole lot of medals probably, but I gotta go with ethnic pride. Where's my Erin Go Braugh T-shirt?)

Mark- Jamaica (he still has fond memories of the Jamaican bobsled team.) He's also inclined to root for all the little countries. Mark's an underdog kind of guy.

Annie: China. As far as I can tell, it's purely a pragmatic choice. She figures China will get a lot of medals

Nate: Turkey and Great Britain. Nate, we've learned, has imperialist sympathies. He's been playing "Age of Empire" on the computer, and he likes the nations who developed massive empires over the centuries. Hence, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and "The-Sun-Never-Sets-on-the-British-Empire" Brits. He also just told me he likes India too. He likes their elephant-riding.

Brennan : Portugal, and Japan. Brennan has also done a bit of Age of Empire and likes the 16th century Portuguese pluck in exploration. He likes the Japanese because of their samuria and ninja traditions. (he also just told me it's also because of their beauty, and because of how the Tokugawa dynasty unified Japan. His words, not mine. My little historian!

So, how do other families celebrate/watch the Olympics?


Lorrie and Fred said...

Thanks Cathy for your always entertaining offerings on your blog! How clever to use a globe for geographical enlightenment during the Olympics! I'll think I'll ask for one for my birthday because I was stumped by some countries' names and locations. Love, Lorrie

our little brown life said...

Hey Cathy-
Thanks for putting us on the spot you teacher you! I have a feeling I'll grab some wonderful ideas from this family blog business that's been going on- like fun things to do (from camping out in the backyard to this geography Olympic game). One thing I LOVE about the Olympics is the inspiring character traits of the athletes- the virtues of strength, focus and perseverance. Each time it rolls around there's always some great story of some athlete that's overcome overwhelming obstacles and then sets some world record and so on and so forth. It's no secret that I have trouble getting going in the morning- maybe I'll be inspired during the Olympics to jump out of bed at ungodly hours and cook big warm breakfasts for my family all before getting to early Mass?! Hmmm, maybe not- but I am inspired to set some realistic goals. Thanks again for the fun ideas. And if you guys come up with some wonderful ethnic recipe please do share!
Cal & Co.

The Schultz Family said...

Full confession: looking up the countries on the globe only lasted for the first 10 or so countries. Then everyone got tired! Brennan got the prize for the greatest geographic knowledge, though.

I realized after I posted my Olympics post that I sounded like some sort of dynamic super-Mom. Believe me, I'm a pretty typical slacker mom most of the time, and I marvel at the energy and ideas of most other moms.

As for ethnic food, so far I've made panini (I decided that I had to root for the Italians too, in honor of their yummy food) and plan to do some shepherd's pie (in honor of the Irish) tomorrow. Nate wants to do Turkish meatballs Tuesday. Should be interesting!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mark and Cathy!
What are the kids favorite Olympic sports? Bethany and Zachary enjoy many of the innovative and funny commercials, like the Dalmation training the retired Clydsdale to the "Rocky" theme song! Or the Greek guy whose discus brings down the Acropolis Temple...oops! We loved watching Michael Phelps swim yesterday...that guy is amazing. His butterfly is poetry in motion! The USA gymnastics team seems to be having a tough go of it tonight.
Love, Jessica

teresa anthony said...


The US men's 4 x 100 swimming relay team just beat the French two minutes ago.

"That's why I love the Olympics!" declared Scott as he roared watching the final guy come from behind to beat the team who declared only yesterday, "we're going to smash the Americans."

A little patriotic blood is flowing right now.

In our household we are in FULL olympic fever. We missed the artistic portion of the opening ceremonies, (and yes, we KNOW it was the most fabulous artistic opening ceremonies, ever!), due to a prearranged dinner plan with another family. We did however get home in time for a third of the parade of athletes (including the U.S.) and the amazing torch lighting, and the globe was in full force in our house, too.

Although, like your family Cathy, after about 10 minutes I was the only one still enthusiastically racing to find each country before the next one was announced - tough to do with some of these teeny tiny Pacific island countries that I've never heard of before, with populations of 100,000 people and only three athletes marching.

Anyway, I've come across a pretty cool website

that has all sorts of FREE Olympic printables, craft ideas, recipes, etc. - check it out.

The Olympics provide awesome family conversation material - everything from math - the fact that the American woman lost her swimming race tonight by 8/100th of a second - dividing seconds into the hundredths and thousandths is one amazing concept; to politics - we've had a LOT of conversations about China and human rights abuses; to geography - great conversations about China's amazing 5000 plus year history; to religion - how even St. Paul references an athlete's willingness to persevere for years to win a prize as a worthy model for how zealous we should be to win heaven; to humor - ok, who else out there will sheepishly admit that that "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" movie looks just stupid enough to possible be funny?

And what other voice do we want in our living rooms with us for the next two weeks than Bob Costas?

Love it!

The Schultz Family said...

We saw the relay too! Amazing! And our patriotic fervor was high too, especially since the French team had "guaranteed" they were going to win. Those silly Frogs! (a little Horatio Hornblower reference there.)

Jessica, it's fun to see you on the blog! We've been zipping through the commercials a bit (ah, the joys of DVR) but now I think we'll slow down and watch a few. And yes, Teresa, I agree that the Beverly Hills Chihuahua commercial made me giggle. Mark vows he will never watch it, but if the kids lobby me hard enough (and they will), I'll probably take them.

As for favorites, Annie like women's gymnastics so far, but it was tough watching them tonight. Ouch! The boys like the swimming, and they caught a bit of fencing which intrigued them too.

And Bob Costas is the BEST! But why do we only see him during the Olympics? Does he do anything else? Or does he get to stay on a tropical beach for 3 years and 11 months, and only emerge for the Games every four years? Inquiring minds want to know!

teresa anthony said...

Bob on a tropical beach - that's great!

I think you should email him at NBC and ask him.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this!!! I was coming tonight to all the blogs to admit that i've been a slacker in keeping up with you all because of the Olympics...little did i know that i'd find that you are all into it as much as us! Sharon is not into them AT ALL and says "off" when i try to sneak a peak during the day, but RJ and I are staying up WAY TOO LATE to watch every night (we're very behind the times and have no fancy recording devices...)
i LOVE the globe hunting game. Cathy, you may recall how truly terrible i was at geography (don't give any examples though, student-teacher confidentiality!), so i could really use this game for myself!
And the recipes...oh my gosh. i love the idea. Just have no earthly idea how to implement it. I have to start easy, but i'm determined to do at least a couple before the games are over...
As for what we love? oh gosh, i love it all. the big ones of course are so fun to watch, but i also love the ones that they aren't showing on our basic cable channels! (kayaking, ping pong, equestrian events, soccer, etc).
i'll keep checking back here when i can drag myself away (I'll admit i've left RJ to enjoy watching the women's beach volleyball while i do this...he certainly enjoys it more than i do :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, guys!
I'm sure you've heard the fuss about China creating a "perfect" opening ceremony at the expense of complete candor, ie the "footprint" fireworks actually being computer graphics. When Bethany heard the story on the news about the little girl with crooked teeth being asked to sing behind a curtain while a little girl with perfect teeth stand on the podium and lipsing, Bethany deducted with pride, (having crooked teeth herself she is very empathetic of others likewise aflicted), I guess the Chinese just couldn't find a girl with straight teeth that could sing as well!"
Love to all,