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I have a confession to make. I'm kind of obsessed with Missy Franklin. This is inappropriate on so many levels. I'm old enough to be her much older sister or her very young mother. The girl is seventeen for heaven's sake. That would be, like, the equivalent of me being obsessed with Justin Bieber. But, for real, if I wasn't the married mother of two, I'd probably start putting posters of Missy Franklin on my walls. Posters not unlike the ones that hung on the back of my door for years after the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. And she doesn't even swim the events that I did. So I'm basically a traitor to the breaststroke. I don't even like backstroke.
But you know what, I'm not even sorry.
Because my goodness. I have never seen a 17-year-old so calm under pressure and so enthusiastically hyper the rest of the time. This obsession doesn't stop with me either. My six-year-old sees pictures of her and shouts out, "Look, there's Missy Franklin!" To put this into perspective, I don't think the dude has a clue who Michael Phelps is. And while that's not saying much about me as a mother--I mean, come on, what child of a former swimmer doesn't know who Michael Olympic Medal Record Setting Phelps is--it does speak highly of the amount of time we've been spending talking about Missy Franklin in our house.
At one point I said, "I can't believe she wears those earrings." Since that time, I have heard my child repeat that very sentence a dozen times. "They don't seem to slow her down," I now answer him when he throws the question at me. Again.
This morning we were watching the prelims of the 100 Free and my son started going crazy once they were in the water. "Which one is Missy Franklin? Where did she go? Mom, show me Missy Franklin!" I informed him that she was at the top of the screen wearing a white cap. "SHOW ME! Point to her!" He demanded. I hoisted myself off the couch--difficult as I've been affixed to it for several days now, eyes glued to the competition--and stubbed a finger on to her head as she swam on by.
"Okay. Go! Go Missy Franklin! Missy Franklin is doing big arms!"
Yes, I'm sure that's what her coach calls them. "Missy, I want you to start with a 500 warm up. Use your big arms now, like a good girl."
It continued, "Missy Franklin isn't winning, Mom. Why isn't Missy Franklin winning? She's not going to get a gold medal." It was, at this point, that I had to explain to him what a prelim is and that she swam fast enough to make it into the semi final. "What's a semi final, Mom?"
We're also a little obsessed with this around here...
And every time (EVERY TIME) Missy Franklin appears Garrett yells, "There's Missy Franklin!" I think it's safe to say that Kiddo is in love with her.
And of course she just so happens to be a backstroker. One day, a couple of years ago, Garrett was doing push ups and Troy noticed that his elbows were all kinds of going the wrong way. "Look at this!" he called for me.
I looked at my son, shook my head in disbelief and announced, "He's a backstroker."
His feet aren't turned out like a duck. His elbows bend backward at sick angles. I'm questioning maternity. But if my son wants to swim and if he suddenly has a knack for the backstroke, I'm declaring to everyone within earshot that I totally called it.
And then I'll focus my attention on Matthew and turn him into a breaststroker.
Not really. But only because Matthew won't be a swimmer. That kid likes to punch stuff. Swimming isn't exactly a contact sport. I'll cheer him on at his football games.
Whatever they choose to do, I can only hope that my children love something as much as Missy Franklin loves swimming--and that they wear that love in their smiles.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go hang a giant poster of the gold medalist on the back of my door.