Lighting the flame
Watching the lighting of the Olympic flame at RNAS Culdrose (not RAF, Mr Beckham, for any fellow One Show viewers) has reminded me about one of my favourite Olympic moments.
Confession time: I’m a sports nut. Even though I didn’t go through the rigmarole of applying for tickets for this summer’s sporting extravaganza, I’m getting increasingly excited about London 2012 and all that.
But for all the glorious achievements and golden moments which define any Olympic Games, I think this short clip defines the true essence of the Olympic spirit.
To be honest, the video speaks for itself. But this epic display of fatherhood has brought a couple of thoughts to mind.
For Derek Redmond (and the watching world) the thing that makes this clip memorable is his dad’s presence. He was simply there. Now I know this was an Olympic Games, and it would almost be criminal for his father not to be there. But he wasn’t just in the stadium, waiting in the wings for the medics to bring his injured son off the track. He was really there. My favourite moment is when a fussy official approaches them as Mr Redmond Snr is helping his son down the home straight. After trying to brush him off, this hero of fatherhood gets a bit irate and seems to finally get through by saying: ‘I’m his Dad.’ No other explanation required. That was exactly where you should have been, sir. And I for one am very glad you defied convention (and the rules) to be with your son is his moment of need.
Thanks to the explanatory text that’s clipped into this montage, you get a fascinating insight into this most public of father-son dialogues. Redmond Jnr explains how his dad’s first thought was to protect his son (‘You don’t have to do this’). But as soon as his dad realises that what really matters to his son is getting over that finishing line – however long it takes, and whatever damage it may be doing to his body – that’s what he commits to doing. There’s no argument. No trying to persuade his son that he’s actually wrong and he should simply do what his dad says. His father listens, understands and simply puts the best interests of his son before anything else. What a legend.
So this leaves just one question: what can you do to follow this example and be a listening presence for your child(ren) this week?