By Brad Spencer
"Stick it!" hollered one of my daughters to her little sister in the backyard. I put my parenting skills to use from the window. "Hey, watch your mouth. You don't talk like that to anyone!"
"But Dad, we're doing gymnastics!"
"Oh right, then yeah, stick it."
It's amazing what watching the Summer Olympics can bring forth. Four girls, ages 9 to 3, pirouetting, cartwheeling, somersaulting across the lawn to Disney music. Nearly every evening last week. One girl does a cartwheel off a plastic picnic table and lands perfectly with her arms up as if she knows she just won gold. And, let's face it, she has won gold. She stuck it. This happens while another girl balances precipitously on a two-by-four — it's on the ground, of course. Another girl is in the midst of a floor exercise routine that includes a backward roll that nearly disrupts the balance beam routine. The 3-year-old seems to have created her own Olympic event called "the spin." When they rotate to their new events, it's a battle for her to even find the two-by-four, let alone balance on it.
Next door, I notice the neighbor kid and his friends setting up a volleyball court. No doubt, they've been checking out the sand volleyball.
I'm entertained. "Kids," I shrug my shoulders and smile, "they're so impressionable." Cracks me up. They watch a few days of Olympic gymnastics and now they're all out there flittering and flipping, trying desperately to move poetically despite small feet or long legs or thorns in the grass. They are such children, innocent and gullible, living in a fantastic dream world. I try to imagine the 9-year-old twins dancing again in the backyard four years from now, during the next Summer Olympics. Somehow the image is grainy. They'll be 13. I don't see that happening, but maybe there's hope.
After all, here's a grown man, a husband and a father of four daughters, on the golf course trying to hit a ball like Rory McIlroy.
And what had I been doing?
Watching the PGA Championship where, in the first round, the 23-year-old McIlroy shot a blistering 5-under 67. I tear up Indian Boundary Golf Course for a whopping 34-over 106. Am I discouraged? No, McIlroy scorches the field in the final round with a 6-under 66.
What do I do?
I rake Columbus Park Golf Course's already-drought-riddled nine holes for a 16-over 51.
So I guess, in a way, we can stay kids forever.
Answer Book 2019
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