No Matter What Country You’re In…

parents are embarrassing.

Even when not trying.

Like swimming parents, track parents must camp out for days waiting for the seconds Junior will either sprint, lope or lumber by. Spouse and I have become experts in the years that the Offspring have been developing in to future Olympians both in terms of equipment and documentation of the event. Moving to Japan altered our equipment, and in so doing  reinforced the unfortunate fact that a child can’t alter the genetic line from whence produced.

Exhibit A: Bad Weather Forces Mom and Dad to Camp Out

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these parents from comfort while their Offspring suffer the elements at track meets”  Clampitt Creed.

This ingenious Japan Costco set up, including the chairs with umbrellas, kept us out of the elements but not impervious to the “boy” noises from the all male track team next door. Some things don’t require translation. When the Offspring did venture over to the tent for necessary items, we were addressed as “Mr and Mrs Noddin,” in an attempt at masking our identity.

We were the lone parents in attendance able to unleash the imagination required to envision such a haven from the disastrous duo of wind and rain. Other than those who had to sell hot dogs for shelter.

Exhibit B- Your Mother Speaks English while the Video Camera Speaks Japanese-

It’s the red button on the new Japanese speaking video camera which means “record” not the green. Because the Japanese appreciate quiet, there is no bell indicating the button registered the warm touch of a finger requesting action. Now, instead of enjoying the jubilation and triumphant celebration following Offspring #2’s 4×400 m win with her team as they crossed the finish line in to the League Championship’s history books, we have a riveting video recording of our conversation from the time I switched it “off” and it began a 30 minute journey in the back pack. Our titillating conversation muffled by the purple towel somewhat illuminated by the not quite zipped side, until the battery ultimately ran down as Andretti-san ordered food at the MacDonald’s drive through. The Clampitts sat glued to the tv watching the captivating drama unfold, hoping that somehow, the track meet would miraculously peep through. Alas, it only lives in our memories.

I now feast on crow at the table where I formerly beat my chest while waving a turkey leg in the air proclaiming loudly and with much gusto:

“How hard can it be to figure out a Japanese speaking video camera? Just hit “Record” and “Stop.” Ouiser-san May, 2011.

Exhibit C: Dad Wants a Good Shot of “Insert Kid” Crossing the Finish Line

Which he did. Several times. The finish line camera also got several good shots of him. Here’s a shot of Spouse in the coach’s email to the team and parents advising everyone to stay away from the finish line camera:

At least Spouse wasn’t sitting on the track.

I hesitate to document the above tale lest my Offspring read this- however, very rarely do they show interest in this blog, so several years may pass before the above humor in these situations is evident. Alternatively, I’m still not over the “Blind date” Thin Lips (my mother) set up- without my permission- with a gentlemen newly arrived from Kansas who preached the Book of Mark all night. Still not funny after 30 years.

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32 Responses to No Matter What Country You’re In…

  1. Tokyo Jinja says:

    Crack me up! I feel so bad that her race wasn’t taped though….and I love your camping set up!

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  2. mairedubhtx says:

    You’re such good parents to be so involved with your kids. (The kids just don’t know it yet.)

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  3. Loved the video camera trials…I’m a technological “fail” too! Glad your kid helped set a record!

    We just went to Anna’s last cheer competition of the season yesterday…Brianna was trying to get some shots of the team after competition, and people kept walking in front of her…she got some lovely headshots of team parents!

    Wendy

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    • amblerangel says:

      We do the “goat” – find the highest spot and climb on it to avoid the heads- but- inside- it’s hard to find anything to climb on! How did they do? I’ll have to check your page to look…I know those are long days- and unlike other events- LOUD!

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      • They didn’t make callbacks again, but should have (along with another team which wasn’t called back)…this mom’s not a happy camper! I can’t say much else about it, except that one mediocre team seems to consistently end up in the top three…their coach is also high up in the administration of the sport…

        I wish I was still a journalist, because there needs to be an exposé done…

        I’ll probably be posting the photos tomorrow…both Bri and Jim were taking pictures, while Hope did the video.

        Wendy

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      • amblerangel says:

        RRRR- that’s what I don’t like about the judged sports. OS#2 did dance for a long time. I had to be physically restrained. I completely understand how you feel, On the other hand- “Life’s lessons” she said through gritted teeth and a clenched jaw…

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  4. Tori Nelson says:

    Oh, the tent. I want one. I don’t have a use for it really, but I want one. Maybe just to sit and observe neighbors in the shade.

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  5. I love it!!! We need to get one of those little rain cabanas. Track in Oregon…yeah, it’s miserable weather. One out of 3 of our crew who had their first year of track is going back for more, as she proudly states (as the only female pole vaulter, 9-12 grade), “I am the future of NMHS pole vaulting!!!” I’m a field sneaker-onner, like your hubby and I did the same thing with our video camera, when it was new. I got a lot of cool footage of us breaking down Pop Warner football plays with while the picture featured a bobbling view of our feet and the metal bleachers. ha ha *sigh* I don’t have the “Japan” excuse either.

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  6. I too am technologically challenged, so to me the video camera mishaps is a total hoot. Add a foreign language (especially an Asian one) to technology, and I’m a goner!
    Kathy

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  7. The Nose says:

    Was that you in the tent or the lead singer from Counting Crows dressed as you? I see now why you were so desperate for your hair products.

    Really, I am amazed how you travel with so little, but seem to be ready for anything. While I never have the video camera, or not charged, or on the wrong side of the auditorium and my child’s body is hidden by a giant full size cello, or begging to borrow diapers from anyone, infant or adult, on the airplane (I know what you are thinking- no not for my IBS but when I used to travel with 3 toddlers). I am still a “Young Grasshoppuh” learning from the “Mastah”,

    BUT, I wait expectantly for the hilarious blogs you will no doubt write for when “Thin Lips aka Big Patti” arrives for three weeks. Please keep her away from single elderly Japanese men and make sure her robe is tied in the back.

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    • amblerangel says:

      Thin Lips is going to be a hoot- you’re right! I’ve already talked to Andretti-San. My hair has a big bad dose of hormones- it’s a good thing Im not in middle school right now- the teasing would ruin me for life,

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  8. This is our job to embarrass our kids. My kids almost always embarrassed by my heavy Russian accent!!!

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  9. Olga SE says:

    An umbrella? What a gorgeous thing to have!

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  10. Parents have a certain knack of embarrassing their off-springs. We turn it in to an art form. After all we are past caring. Did you ever watch the film “meet the fockers” and the sequel “meet the parents” I think these are classic examples 🙂
    PiP 🙂

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  11. Dana says:

    Haha– spouse looks like the paparazzi in that finish line shot. Your kids must have been thrilled when his photo was circulated by their coach for all to see! 😉

    I can definitely relate to the technology fails. I’m just glad I don’t have kids so I’m not messing up any Important Moments Which Should Be Documented Forever for them! Phew!

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    • amblerangel says:

      Truthfully, they’re more embarrassed by our “Loud talking in bad Japanese” exploits… Our kids have a high threshold for parental mishaps and foibles vs other children since they haven’t been sent to live with more normal relatives yet. Scratch that. They just don’t know any other way.

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  12. I would love to see that finish line camera capture a shot of a runner plowing into a zealous parent.

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    • amblerangel says:

      The coach sent the full video the next week. It looked like a demolition derby of kids crossing the finish line, dropping to their knees, and then getting plowed by the next runner coming in. I didn’t laugh because I would never do that, but I’m sure others did.

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  13. Commando says:

    I see Spouse has deviated from the usual uniform of jeans and grey sweatshirts.

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  14. Ha, you’re bringing back so many memories of how my parents embarrassed me as a teenager. Although as an adult the things they did don’t seem as bad. We don’t have kids, so I can’t inflict a similar pain on the next generation – although I’m sure we have embarrassed our nephews and nieces.

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  15. Ashmore says:

    Ahhh fellow track parent…do your children run in the first event and the LAST event, as does mine? I can read 10 books in one track season…

    How’s this for embarrassing your offspring…I film the race…coach asks me for a copy to show the boys since school doesn’t do it themselves. Since I don’t know how to remove the sound when transferring to a DVD, Davis’ teammates enjoy background vocals of me screeching “FASTER! THEY’RE CATCHING YOU! RUUUUN DAMMIT!” As well as brief commentary at the end of the race emphasizing how handsome my son is. No more requests from Coach since.

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    • amblerangel says:

      Well- I can understand how important it is to document the developmental stages our children go through along the way and so glad son isn’t currently in an awkward stage! And it’s also important for them to know how supportive we as parents were at all of their sporting events. I for one am glad that the sound was there so the coach knows he can hold you and hubby up as examples by which other parents should be held accountable. Great work!

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