Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Phelps marijuana saga

Goes from bad to worse.

The cops are investigating, no telling yet whether they will pursue the matter or not. Phelps is at the veritable fork in the road. Only he's way past the point where he has any control over which road he gets to take.
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Updated Feb 4, 2009:

Phelps, Marijuana and a Suddenly Empty Pedestal

My eight-year-old thinks Phelps is the coolest dude ever to walk the earth. With a devotion hitherto only accorded to cricket, soccer and football, he devoured the swim events at the Beijing Olympics this past summer. All his other activities were planned around the swim event schedules. The timing of the Olympics couldn't have been more apt - my son's team was on a roller coaster ride of victory and defeat on a weekly basis with the summer league competitions. We encouraged the enthusiasm, calling him down to watch HBO interviews with Phelps and a 60-Minutes segment with Anderson Cooper and Phelps.

This is not to say Phelps is a role model. Yes, when it comes to swimming technique or work ethic in the pool, he is hands-down a parent's dream example. When my son struggled with his finishes, all we had to do was invoke Phelps' or Jason Lezak's example or show him the videos on Youtube and he would get it in a flash. But beyond his exploits in the pool, Phelps did not figure into any of our daily conversations.

For me, the most interesting character in this story was Debbie Phelps, his mother, and to a lesser extent, his sisters, also swimmers of star quality. A single mother, Mrs. Phelps raised three kids while holding down a full-time job, found a good outlet for her son's formidable energies and guided him to a coach who could recognize his talents and nurture them. Phelps himself has acknowledged repeatedly that whatever his accomplishments are, they are to be attributed to his mother.

My son must have somehow gleaned this. Perhaps my admiration for her came through whenever he heard me talk about her (usually when she was on TV), because the first non-rhetorical question he asked when he learned about Phelps' tryst with drugs was, "What did his mother say?"

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2 comments:

Sands said...

Pretty sad. Dunno why these guys get themselves embroiled in stuff like this when they have such amazing talent!

Sujatha said...

Sands, that's a vexing question indeed!

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