It May Take A Village, But You’re Still The Mayor

So, if you’ve been following the Olympics, you may have witnessed Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli take part in his pre-swim ritual with his father. A little unorthodox, but who are we to judge? Apparently, according to many sanctimommies on Facebook, we aren’t JUST the judges, we’re the jury, too.

“This is completely inappropriate, and I don’t want my children thinking this is okay to do. The networks shouldn’t be airing this!” This is the gist of every negative comment I’ve seen (which have been many). They don’t seem to have taken the time to find out WHY they’re doing this.

At eight years old, Santo was small for his size. He was intimidated by the bigger kids he was competing against, and was losing race after race. He was frustrated (who wouldn’t be), so his father came up with a way to build his confidence. “[He said] ‘You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else that you’re racing,” Santo explains. “He said ‘Every time you’re behind the blocks, give me the finger and I’ll give it back to you.”

Almost every athlete has some kind of ritual, from Michael Jordan wearing his university shorts under his uniform at every game, to Babe Ruth stepping on second base when he’d jog in from right field. I know, you’re thinking “but flipping the bird is WAY worse than those”. Sure, if you think it is. But it is OUR job as parents to talk to our kids about what they see. If they see it, you need to explain to them what is and isn’t appropriate in your home. Explain it to them, and use it as a teaching moment. But most of all, don’t use it as an opportunity to show your kids that it’s okay to judge somebody else’s methods. Because it isn’t. What works for some doesn’t always work for others, and that’s okay! It is not the networks job to conform to what you want. It is not the world’s job to make sure your special little snowflake is NEVER exposed to anything.

Sure, it takes a village to raise a child, right? But you’re still the mayor, and you need to take charge. And anybody who tells you you’re doing it wrong, well…you know what to do!


santo condorelli



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