David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Olympics, Parents

Olympics

• Strange things sometimes happen to child athletes. When she was nine years old, Russian figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva began to skate in a competition, but she discovered that she could not move her head because she had accidentally zipped her hair in her costume. She had to stop skating so she could unzip her ponytail. As an adult, she won two Olympic gold medals in pairs skating with her husband, Sergei Grinkov.

• As a young gymnast, Dominic Moceanu showed a lot of confidence. While signing autographs before the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta were held, she added to her signature, “’96 gold, for sure.” Her cockiness was justified — the United States women’s gymnastics team, of which Ms. Moceanu was a member, won the gold medal.

• After Dorothy Hamill won the gold medal in women’s figure skating at the 1976 Olympic Games, she slept with it under her pillow. The next day, someone asked where she was keeping it. She pulled it from out of her blouse and said, “Right here.”

Parents

• Tara Lipinski is a champion figure skater, but her parents had to sacrifice for her to become a champion. Her father lived in Texas, where his job is, but Tara and her mother lived in Detroit, where she could train with a top coach and skate at a top rink. In addition, her parents refinanced their house and took out a loan to pay for Tara’s skating, coaching, and travel expenses. Now that Tara is an Olympic gold medalist and a professional figure skater, she earns enough money by performing to more than pay for her expenses. (The parents of many other champion sports stars also make these kinds of sacrifices.)

• Zack lives in New Jersey and has same-sex parents — Aimee and Margie. One day, he was talking with his friend Alex and they stopped talking when Zack’s mother and her lover — Zack calls them his two mothers — walked up to them. Curious, Zack’s mother, Aimee, asked what was going on. Alex replied, “I wanted to know if it’s all right if I told someone that you’re a lesbian.” Aimee looked at Margie for a moment, then the two women laughed, and Aimee said, “Sure, it’s all right. We like being lesbians.”

• Parents worry about their teenage children going out on dates, and they want to meet the people their children are dating. A mother was shocked when her daughter said she was going on a date with a boy the mother had not met, so the girl’s mother decided to call the boy’s mother to find out something about him. The boy’s mother stated, “He’s my son, and I love him.” Hearing that, the girl’s mother sighed and said, “Well, that’s fine. I’m sure everything will be all right.”

• Some teachers can get upset with parents. Following one conference with a mother, a Quaker teacher exclaimed, “The only people who ought not to have children are parents!” A former head of Bootham School, a school for Quakers, once said, “There are moments when I feel that in the next world I would like to be Head Master of an orphanage.”

• When Mexican artist Diego Rivera was a small child, he liked to draw on walls and furniture. Of course, his parents didn’t want him to do this, but they did want him to use his creativity, so his father set aside an entire room for young Diego. He covered the entire room with canvas, so Diego was able to draw wherever he liked in that room.

• When children compete at important sports events, their parents react in different ways. When Dorothy Hamill won the gold medal in women’s figure skating at the 1976 Olympic Games, her father watched the competition in person, but her mother was too nervous to watch and stayed in her hotel room.

• Etiquette expert Grace Fox knows a family that schedules regular musical or literary nights. On one occasion, the parents tried to turn on their children — metalheads all — to the music of the Beatles and Janis Joplin. (Their children remained metalheads, but everyone had fun.)

• When he was growing up, professional baseball player Harmon Killebrew used to play ball with his brother and father in the front yard. His mother once complained that they were ruining the lawn, but his father replied, “We’re raising kids — not raising grass.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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