A friend once told me that she isn't sure which she likes better, watching my daughter swim at swim meets or watching my reaction to her swims. I know my daughter can't hear my cheers or see my flailing arms while she's in the water, yet no matter how calm and cool I try to remain, I can't help but try to propel her through the water with everything I've got. When she wins, I feel her joy; when she loses, I share her heartbreak.
And did I mention these are high school swim meets?
I can't even imagine the intense emotions felt by the parents watching their children competing for gold at the Olympics. And I'm not alone. That's why the Internet is having so much fun not only watching the Olympic athletes compete on the big stage, but also watching the parents on the sidelines.
Whether it's the intense emotion in the eyes of Jamie Anderson's dad as he watched his snowboarding daughter win gold, the cheesy signs made by the dads of speedskater Maame Biney and snowboarder Chloe Kim to cheer on their daughters, or the jubilation in full display from skier Mikaël Kingsbury's parents or snowboarder Red Gerard's raucous family, we can relate to their reactions.
And these impassioned displays aren't limited to the parents of Winter Olympians. Who can forget watching the parents of Olympic gold-medal gymnast Aly Raisman as they watched their daughter compete?
It's what parents do
Of course, fervid encouragement isn't limited to parents of athletes. When you've watched your kid try her best to achieve something, whether it's at a science fair or the school concert or a swim meet, you want them to reach their goal with every fiber of your being. Yet you know that there's absolutely nothing you can do except cheer them on from the sidelines, cheesy handmade signs and all.
Because it's not just about this one day. These events are the victory lap for all of those early morning practices and late-night struggles. For the ups and downs of bad training days and breakthrough performances. They are the culmination not only of your child's hard work, but of all the sacrifices made to help them get there.
So parents of Olympians, we salute you. We see your fist bumps and your bitten fingernails, your tear-filled eyes and your silent prayers.
Savor this moment. And know that we're cheering for you almost as hard as you're cheering for them.