Olympics, Olympics and more Olympics. This may sound painful to some, but in our house, we have loved watching a whole lot of Olympics the past few weeks. My girls were even thankful for lockdown, so they could stay up late and watch the finals. We have been yelling at the TV like they can hear us cheering them on.
We are all about Australia winning, but there’s been a couple occasions, where we have been ok with a loss. One of these times was when Australia played India in the women’s hockey. Sadly, India knocked Australia out of the finals after beating them in the quarter final, 1-0. We still celebrated for India as my family has spent some time living there and we were inspired by some of the players and their stories.
The Australian Today recently wrote a story about Rani Rampal, the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team. She has a rather incredible story. Rani grew up with very little. She was lucky to have 2 meals a day, their home was full of mosquitoes and flooded when it rained. Her Papa would earn just Rs80 a day, ($1.47).
There was a hockey field near her house, and she’d spend hours watching player’s practise. She couldn’t afford a hockey stick, so she found a broken stick left on the field and would practice with that. The coach wouldn’t let her play as she was malnourished and not strong enough. She kept begging until he gave in and gave her a go.
Rani’s parents had other pressures from their extended family and financially for Rani to get married, but they still encouraged Rani to play. Her Papa said to her, ‘play until your heart’s content.’ Rani’s family didn’t have a clock, so her mum would stay up all night to watch the sky, so Rani would get to training on time. They needed to bring 500ml of milk to training, but they couldn’t afford this. Her family would scrape together 200ml and she would mix it with water, so that it appeared to be 500mL.
Rani also spoke about all the help from her coach and with his and her parents support, she got a national call up at age 15. She promised one day she would buy her family a house and she was able to do this in 2017. This year she led her team to an incredible fourth place in the Olympic games.
As I read about Rani Rampal I was blown away by her determination and hard work to overcome so many obstacles to get to where she is today. What an incredible role model and athlete she is. I was also challenged and reminded of the important role parents and grandparents play in developing our children’s gifts, talents and goals. There was pressure for Rani to not play hockey, from extended family and culturally, but her parents and coach still chose to encourage her to go after her dreams, even staying up all night to ensure she got to her training on time.
We get to be our kid’s biggest cheerleaders. We get to encourage them, build them up and support them as they try new things and develop skills in area’s they love. At Mueller we believe God has given every student unique gifts. It may be that they are:
Good at sport and love being part of a team
Creative and take incredible photos or love to draw
Thoughtful and know just how to make someone’s day
Academic and love learning
Incredible builders and can design amazing Lego creations
Welcoming and are able to make people feel like they belong
The list goes on and on. Whatever it is your child is good at, as parents and grandparents, we get to encourage our kids in the gifts we see in them, what a privilege. I hope you are able to take a moment today or this week, to look for something your child is passionate about and be their biggest cheerleader.