Monday, April 14, 2008

An Olympic Proposal

Dear Members of the International Olympic Committee,

I am interested in nominating a new sport for inclusion in the 2008 Olympic Games.
This new event, The Parental Triathlon, would challenge a parent to run three successive stages, with two small children in tow. The event would break down as outlined below:

Stage 1- Shoe shopping: During this stage of the event, the parent would enter an upscale department store, have one child's foot measured, find a suitable pair of shoes, have the child try on at least two pairs of shoes, make the purchase, wait patiently for balloons with the children and leave the store. The challenge is to make the purchase while keeping both children reasonably well behaved, avoid attracting attention from shoppers nearby and preventing either child from running off barefooted to another department. Extra points are awarded if all displays in reach remain intact for the duration of your visit. Extra points are awarded for bargaining a two year old into placing their foot into the foot measuring slider without crunching up their toes, or slipping their foot around as the clerk tries to get an accurate measurement. A participant may instruct the children to "look at the pretty fish" as a distraction, but doing so in a shreeky mother-in-a-panic voice would cost the team points.

Stage 2- Big Box Store w/Large Toy Department: During this stage of the event, the parent would enter a big box store with a large toy department with the goal of purchasing resealable sandwich baggies, deodorant, toddler underpants, batteries and a small toy (not manufactured in China) for each child. The challenges in this stage are to make it through the store to purchase items from various departments without losing the children or adding extraneous items from the "One Spot," and actually finding a small toy for each child that is not manufactured in China while trying to explain to your children why their selected toy must be rejected. Parents may strap one child into the cart to facilitate this stage, but using duct tape is forbidden. Points will also be deducted for selecting a toy manufactured in China with weary resignation and the half-assed reassurance from your 2 year old that "Well, you won't put this in your mouth, will you?"

Stage 3- Grocery Shopping: During this stage, the parent must complete a week's worth of grocery shopping in a narrow aisled grocery store that offers food samples. By this stage, both children should have missed their designated nap time. The challenge is to select healthy, organic or natural products and complete a mental grocery list for the week's meals. No written lists are permitted, all items must be recalled from a harried memory of meal planning the previous day. Children must not be allowed to run off to the "sample hut", must not attempt to take more than one sample, must not spit out the sample or say "Yuck!" in a loud and exaggerated voice. Parents must also prevent children from sneaking cookies or other unwanted objects into the cart. Children biting items placed in the cart, especially through the wrapping also results in a points deduction. Children may be promised a snack once they get back to the car, but points will be deducted for breaking open a 1 lb bar of chocolate in the store while begging the children to "just please let mommy finish the shopping without scaring any other shoppers". Extra points will be awarded if the parent actually remembers to bring the stash of reusable shopping carts into the store instead of forgetting them in the car, again.

The winner will be the parent who successfully completes all three tasks with:
  1. the shoes that were purchased as well as the outgrown shoes and both balloons
  2. the fewest extra items from "Big Box Store"
  3. the fewest forgotten grocery list items
  4. all clothing in tact, extra points for clothing remaining clean
  5. the least bargaining and fewest bribes
  6. no public meltdowns or shouting matches
  7. and their sanity (or at least comparable sanity to their mental state at the beginning of the event).
While this is not technically a sport, and has no governing federation or organized competitions at the time of this request, I think it has a certain universal appeal that will bring a wide range of athletes to the field. Since many people have been participating in this type of event on a weekly basis, the quality of competition is sure to be brisk!

I humbly submit this for your consideration.

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