Saturday, August 16, 2008

Poor Babies

I get intensely moved by kids who act like adults too soon. I don't, of course, mean girls obsessed with Bratz or even Miley Cyrus, I mean the little old ladies and men who aren't even out of elementary school yet. They worry about money or hurt feelings or logistics in a way that many of us struggle to do in our extreme late 30s.

Today I'm clearing the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games off of my DVR. Other than the Milli Vanilli type scandal I hadn't heard much of anything about them. Artistically they were, of course, gorgeous and brilliant and generally quite awesome. This little earthquake hero, though, is making me weep.

In case you, too, haven't heard his story he is a 9-year-old second grader named Lin Hao (pronounced Leen How). 20 of his 30 classmates were killed in the earthquake in May. He escaped the building then returned to rescue 2 more students. When asked why he went back he said, "I am a class leader*. It is my job." If that doesn't just break you then you must be made of stone. **

A stage manager for the show hustled this beautiful and intelligent boy over to the Chinese Team's flag bearer, basketball star Yao Ming. Ming stands 7' 6" tall and he has herded this child with him then hoisted him up while they stand in the crowd of athletes so he can see the rest of the event and they have continued to chat throughout. They even conducted an interview with NBC at the conclusion where Lin Hao took the initiative to thank the reporter in English. Thankfully the reporter had just thanked Ming in Chinese.

There are, certainly, a number of horrible things going on surrounding these events. In a week, when this is all over, I feel certain we will hear things that will chill our blood. Fortunately they have first warmed out hearts with a kid who is too old for his little body and too good to be crushed by what can be a dangerous country. We might all take a page from his primer.

*Equated too a hall monitor or line leader by NBC's commentary.

**I realize this may all have been fabricated by a savvy public relations machine. I choose to believe it's true, if not for this specific kid then for some kid somewhere.


  1. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Between the singing scandal and the underaged gymnasts, I'm not too happy with the Chinese right now.

  2. It does make for a moving story. We shall see...

  3. yes, that was a real story. Thing is, the disaster is a very brief moment in time. Who knows when Lin will be affected by it and how?

    Yesterday we were at an office bbq. My boss' kids were adorable and terribly precocious. At 11 or 12 years old, they were concerned about their careers already, discussing engineering, medicine and classical music.

    Hello??! are you kidding?

    I and others kept saying, 'well you never know what will happen,' and 'you should only do something you enjoy'. But our cautions mean nothing in the whole scheme of things.

    It really disturbed me because I had profession-focused parents, too. I hope they have an okay time of things later on.

  4. I'm not so pleased with the Chinese either but I am trying to put on the Olympic spirit and be happy about the sports.

    I agree Kitty and I think it's good for those kids to hear as many people as possible say, "You never know." It's a hell of a shock on the day things stop being sure and going according to plan.

  5. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Yes, I'm ignoring the politics and enjoying what the games should be about: celebrating and enjoying the amazing accomplishments of the athletes. I do wish, however, they would go back to only allowing amateur athletes.

    I get a little tired of America pointing the finger at other countries and acting like we're perfect and beyond reproach.

  6. I wouldn't want to get hoisted up by Yao Ming without an oxygen mask. But that little guy looked pretty happy about it.

    I'm getting a little Phelps phatigue. But you gotta give it up for his amazing accomplishment.

  7. I chose to believe it, too. Life feels better when I do.

  8. Anonymous3:33 PM

    I do choose to believe, as well. I hope that kid or whomever he was representing continues to heal and recover from that tragic earthquake.

    I've enjoyed watching Phelps break all the records and become what is being increasingly touted as an ICON, but I do wish the American coverage highlighted the athletes of other countries as well: In Canada, the Olympic coverage is focused much more internationally.

  9. Anonymous3:34 PM

    D'Oh, I clicked publish before I identified myself...

  10. Jules, I should post about how I'm basically watching the O's all on Fast Forward with my DVR so I don't have to listen to all the stupid commentary.

    Kath, clearly that little kid is fearless, he didn't care that there was different weather up that high. Tee hee, Phelps Phatigue, yeah, me too. Proud of him and all but good to see some other faces.

    Amen, Gypsy.

    O'mama, I've actually got a post in me about the largely American coverage, too. Is that true of the Canadian coverage of the winter Olympics, too?