The Farmer's Wife: Commenting on Olympics, mental health


August! I can't believe it. And we had welcome cooler weather to usher it in. In fact, as I did a few laps around the cul de sac in the evening, it even felt a bit like Fall. I see by the forecast, though, we are still expecting hot weather later. 

I have not watched the Olympics as much as I usually do. Not sure why, but when the TV focuses on gymnastics and swimming exclusively, I lose interest. I would like to see more volleyball and basketball games.

I've certainly learned a lot about mental health for athletes, though..In this morning's paper, Garrett Nelson, the football player from Scottsbluff mentions working with the team psychologist. I'm guessing that being a starter at a young age did present some emotional discomfort. And it's been a Nebraska standard for a very long time to have a mental health advocate available for anyone on the teams.

I certainly had never heard of the “twisties”. Now that I have, it makes total sense. I have literally cringed when I watched the youngsters on that vault. And now, hearing more about the mental preparation, I wonder how they even get the nerve to try it the first time!!

Another Olympic athlete who has been open about the mental aspects of his routine is Caleb Dressel, a winner of five gold medals in the pool. He commented he had trouble sleeping and eating and had probably lost 10 pounds! Those are the exact things that happen to me when anxious or depressed. To hear a young guy in the prime condition of his life admit to the same symptoms was eye opening to me.

It sounds like dealing with the press has a lot to do with it; and also, the trolls. The trolls on the internet who think they know all about what it takes to be an elite athlete! There was sympathy expressed for Simone, but a lot of negative talk happened, too. I was relieved to see the big smile after winning the bronze on the balance beam today. And the lesson here is what she said after winning the same in Rio five years ago: it's a medal, for herself, and for her country. 

And the reporters are right; there needs to be more emphasis on mental health; not just in the Olympics, but for we every day folks, too. I know I could have used a counselor many times in my life. Somehow, most of us muddle through and hopefully, come out stronger for the fight! Thankfully, there are no AP people watching, and filming, and critiquing. Now, I'm rooting for that volleyball team with THREE HUSKERS on it!