When I was a kid, I can't remember feeling proud of my parents. I loved them, thought they were magical super-beings and generally could do anything they wanted to, but I can't remember a feeling of pride, per se. Maybe the teenage years just wiped it out of my system (or maybe it was just the 'Mr Bean' style lime green Mini they bought as a second car back then).
Well, ever since I was a working adult, who suddenly valued weekends a whole lot more and got the 'knackered after work/university' vibes, I think I definitely feel very proud of them. Now, you probably aren't aware that I have award-winning parents.
That's correct award-winning!
Since my brother started running at the local athletics club, which is about 18 years ago this year, my parents have both volunteered at the club. My mum was the club secretary for 7 or so years and then helped with membership and now still works helping the club and by judging the tiny kiddies events that take part throughout the year. Over the years I have lost track of the number of times my mum has won awards from our town as 'Volunteer of the Year' recognising her commitment to the club. I've also lost track as she never announces a 'win' - she just goes to the ceremony, rocks up home with a trophy and then hides it on the mantelpiece until someone notices! A case in point came when I looked for a photo online JUST now. Apparently last year she won the SOUTH EAST of ENGLAND regional award. The lady is so modest sometimes, it's exasperating!
My dad took a different route. He started as a field events official, turning up to lots of meetings to measure what everyone had jumped or thrown. As he continued throughout the years, he progressed through the different gradings of being a judge. He was given an 'international' status sometime in the last three years and is in the top 50 judges in the country. It's pretty cool because I sometimes switch on the athletics that they show on the BBC and there is my dad, waving a flag at someone! He won the area award this year and he will hate that I have shared this photo with you - ha!
Well, today is the first day of the Olympics and I am really excited. In truth, not overly about the sport, but because my dad will be there as a field judge. Well, actually he is on the technical management team (I believe he is the assistant to the top dog in this field) and he will be there from Monday all the way through the athletics at the Olympics and then again at the Paralympic games. His team are responsible for making sure all of the equipment is fair, in the correct place at the correct time, at the correct angle and at its optimum to help the athletes get those Olympic and World Records. What you guys don't see when someone chucks a new discus record, is that discus being taken off my the technical officials to inspect it. The record only becomes confirmed when the equipment is deemed fair.
(photo courtesy of my brother taking pictures of the TV! This isn't at the Olympics)
The London Olympic people wanted to make these Olympics all about the athletes. I don't think it is. Without people like my dad and the thousands of other volunteers who coach at and run the clubs our athletes were discovered in, there would be no great athletes. For my dad, judging at the Olympic games is the biggest honour and reward he could ever have received for his 18 years of dedication to the sport of athletics. I am so proud of him. Whether we see him on the box, or he's in a shed somewhere off site, I am so proud of him and all of the other volunteers that make something like the Olympic games happen.
Does your family make you proud? Are they involved in the Olympics? Are you excited to see what happens? Will you be now trying to spot my dad on the T.V? Are you wondering why I am still asking questions? Me too!
Thanks for reading!