I have, a little to my surprise, found that I miss the Olympics, both the competition and the pageantry. So, to fill this void in my television watching life (at least during those moments when I’m not watching football) I want to propose a new set of Olympic games – the Working Parents’ Olympics. There are several interesting events that we could use to start them off.
The first event would be “Rush Hour Racing.” Contestants begin at various points equidistant from the race’s end at the height of morning rush hour (for the qualifying heats) at the major city closest to the Olympic venue, with the finish line in the very heart of the city’s business district. To provide a challenging twist, the race for the gold is held during Friday afternoon rush hour preceding a three-day weekend and is run from the business district to the suburbs. There would be time penalties given to contestants for road rage, swearing and any unfair tactics imposed on innocent drivers, but a contestant could also receive time deductions for successful management of stress as well as creative, productive uses of rush hour time.
Another competition that would draw good TV ratings would be the commuter’s cup. Each contestant is required to receive a car load of eight children with eight different activities to attend scattered across the Olympic venue. The task is to deliver the children on time to each activity; a contestant is automatically disqualified from the final round if the drive and delivery exceeds 45 minutes, tops. The winner is the one that, in the final race, delivers the children to each designated activity in the least amount of time. Shamelessly exploiting America’s inexplicable and insatiable appetite for reality TV, each car will be provided with a hidden video camera. To make the commuter cup races more realistic, two of the eight children must be related to each other, and there is at least one child secretly assigned the role of whiner and another secretly assigned the role of instigator.
One of the more challenging events would be the Grocery Store Relays. These races have both 400 and 800 meter races. The 400 meter teams are teams of 4, while the 800 meter teams consist of 8 parents. Each member of each team must complete a grocery shopping run in the shortest amount of time possible. Each lap of the relay includes a shopping list, $100.00 in spending money and two children, although the ages of the children vary with each lap. To add the element of chance, during at least one lap of each relay, randomly determined by drawing and hidden from the contestants, at least one child will demand an unexpected bathroom break.
The 1st lap includes a 1 and 2-year-old, the 2nd lap must be completed with a 3 and 4-year-old, the 3rd lap contestant races with a 5 and 6-year-old and (in the last lap for the 400 meter racers), the 4th lap comes complete with a 7 and 8-year-old. In an effort to challenge the racers in the longer competition, the 5th lap will continue with two children, a 9 and 10-year-old, while the last three laps include on one child, but with additional circumstances. The 6th leg of the 800 meter relay must be completed with an 11-year-old girl interested in leaving the store with one of everything she sees, whether she needs it or not, while the 7th leg includes a tired 12-year-old girl or boy barely willing to move. Finally, the 8th lap must be completed with a hungry 13-year-old boy in the middle of a growth spurt – this situation challenges the contestants’ patience and wallet in one fell swoop!
In an effort to bring some sense of realism to these games, another competition is the “Multi-tasking Muddle,” where contestants are placed at various work sites with tasks to complete, some work related, some family related. The tasks require different skills to complete them, ranging from negotiation skills to typing skills to budgeting. All of the tasks must be completed in less than one hour; the first contestant who finishes with the fewest mistakes wins the gold.
An event that will bring fun to one of the most boring activities on the household chores list is that of “Synchronized Sorting.” A cross between crewing and synchronized swimming, synchronized sorting requires teams of four parents to sort through a large pile of dirty laundry in rhythm, in a recognizable pattern, and as fast as possible – as a team event, the winner is the team that performs the best routine in the least time possible.
The next event, which will be scored based not upon time but skill and presentation, is the Menu Planning/Cooking Medley. This contest, somewhat like the “Iron Chef” competition, but more reality based, requires each contestant to plan three consecutive dinner meals from a prescribed list of ingredients. Each meal must be able to be prepared in 30 minutes or less using only the ingredients provided to each contestant. Take-out is not allowed. The ingredients will vary. For example, one person may receive three apples, four pork chops, ketchup, pickles, flour and corn, while someone else may receive a head of lettuce, 1 pound of hamburger, ketchup, six peaches, 12 tomatoes and rice. Contestants receive scores based on originality, acceptability to young children and spouses, presentation and time.
The final event in this first edition of the Working Parents’ Olympics provides the excitement of a
ping-pong table tennis event with the tension of a scored event such as gymnastics – this is the “Arena of Argument Event.” Teams of parents will compete with teams of children. There will be different areas covered, such “Room-Cleaning,” “House-keeping,” “Attending Other Events,” and “Activities Beyond Years.” There also will be different age levels – after all, arguing with a two-year old (which bears a suspicious resemblance to arguing with a computer, except that the computer cries less and reasons more) is very different from arguing with a 13-year-old! Scores are based upon creativity of argument, tone (the less hateful and heated, the better), lack of sarcasm and use of humor. A parental contestant is disqualified if he or she uses the rejoinder “Because I said so” while a child contestant is disqualified if he or she stomps a foot or makes a fist declaring, “You just don’t understand!” Each round of argument is restricted to three minutes.
I think that would be enough to cure my current Olympic void. What other events might you like to see, and which do you think you would be the best at?
Have a good day everyone!