Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hunter Kemper

So, i just got back from the Hunter Kemper clinic. Hmmm.... what did i learn.....

I learned -- absolutely-- do not teach good sportsmanship to a 6-year-old by giving all the kids at a running clinic a Power Bar but one....Unfortunately for me, that one was Daisy.

I was thinking, lets inspire the girl. Not, let's quiz her on how great an athlete Hunter Kemper is and when she doesn't anwer fast enough or is too shy...let's see how she handles being the odd man out.

I was thinking, let's see if we can get her interested in triathlons like her mom. Sure, she's never done an triathlon, and yes I had to teach her what a transition was before we went to the transition/running clinic. It's not everyday that the number one ranked triathlete in the Universe comes to Richmond to give a clinic -- that she can go to for free.

I try to inspire her from day-to-day by setting an example. I want her to want to be fit and work out -- to see that it is an essential part a happy life. But there is only so much I can do, the rest has to come from her. ... And I was hoping maybe from a little added Olympic inspiration. When I was about 8, I was greatly inspired by hearing an Olympic swimmer speak to our team about swimming. I was hoping Hunter Kemper could do the same for Daisy. Most Olympians have something about them that is magic. True Olympic spirit, I guess is what it's called......experience and a perspective on life caused by a discipline for training and love for a sport that is almost Divine. Or an unyeilding spririt caused by years of trying and failing and still trying until they become one of the best in the world. A spirit that is contagious. I was hoping Hunter would have it. He didn't. Or if he did, his mistake obscured it for me and Daisy.

I'm not sure Daisy learned much from her lesson in being a good sport. I'm not sure if it was right, but her dad and I immediately said we would go buy her a Power Bar at the store.

Daisy missed being in the photo of all the kids in the clinic with Hunter. She was too busy crying her eyes out. After a minor recovery, she barely stood by as I asked Hunter to autograph a poster for her to console her. She wouldn't even look at him when he talked to her. I put her in the car with dad and Redfish and sent them home. I went back inside to attend the adult clinic. When I left her she was still crying....and I was embarrassed that something so small could upset her so much. But, we all know it wasn't about the Power Bar, it was about being singled out for not getting a reward -- the same as everyone else.

I tried to enjoy the adult running clinic, but really I couldn't.... I kept stewing about having to leave Daisy still crying. And about how this isn't the lesson I wanted her to learn from an Olympic star. My image of the Olympic hero had burst. All of a sudden Hunter was just a real person who makes mistakes like everyone else.

I thought surely Hunter doesn't know better, surely he doesn't have kids, or much experience with them. If he had kids of his own, he'd know you don't do that. If he'd given her something, anything, a water bottle, the shirt off his back, he still would be a hero to her. I found out at the Tri Club banquet later that night that Hunter is a dad. He's been one for 24 days. What a world of learning he has coming his way. I hope that his learning curve is not as hard as mine has been.

When I saw Mr. Preschool, after getting home from the adult's running clinic, I was still upset over what had happened. Since I didn't get to see Daisy's recovery, I guess I assumed she still hadn't gotten over it. Mr. Preschool informed me that I got it all wrong. Daisy had a great time at the clinic he assured me. WHAT? ...
"She didn't go to the clinic to see Hunter Kemper....she went because she wanted to be with you....she had a great time because you were there together. And she was learning about something that's important to you."
And sure enough, when I asked her about it, she said, yeah it stank that Hunter gave all the kids but her Power Bars, and Yeah it stank that he said he was going to ask her a question and then called on someone else and gave the last bar away......but that she had a good time anyway, because she did it with me.
Maybe she's not such a bad sport afterall.

....And, I did learn a few things from Hunter:

1. Come prepared
2. Run on the balls of your feet with a high cadence to be faster.
3. I don't enjoy running barefoot on a wet baseball field that has been freshly aerated...(try telling my toes those squishy brown logs of mud weren't poop)
4. Have the cajones to make your limiter your specialty. This is the most impressive thing I can take from Hunter. Running was his weakness, so he decided to run (and just run) all through college. By the time they added triathlon to the Olympics for the first time in 2000, his weakness had become his strength.
5. If you are speaking 3 times in one community, don't tell the same stories at each an every speech.
6. Don't quiz kids on what a great athlete you are....there must be some better way to inspire them.


Anonymous said...


You are clearly one heck of a great mom & teacher...lucky Daisy & lucky Redfish...

Susie Q

TriGirl 40 said...

Daisy May can have my PowerBar anytime. Have to say - she can teach us all a lesson about who our "real" mentors should be.

carmen said...

sorry for the lousy experience

a nice reminder
that athletes are human
not always perfect
and sometimes not that interesting

that is hilarious
about the story repeats

good job with your girl
you go sister

ps also love the lesson
about the running