Athletes are born on our local tennis courts, in our parks and community centers, and in our school facilities. Whether one is going for the gold like the athletes in this year's London Olympics or is a weekend competitor, sports participation provides mental and physical discipline, skill, sportsmanship, and good old-fashioned fun and fitness.
The 2012 Olympians teach us that wherever we reside in the world and whatever our background we can aspire to achieve great things. With hard work, determination and perseverance, we can accomplish the goals we set for ourselves whether it is scoring a perfect 10, writing a book, growing a garden, or becoming the President of the United States.
Swimmer and President Obama supporter, Mason K, has a photograph of the President on his bedroom wall. Raised by a single mother who makes him do his homework when he'd rather be practicing his breast stroke, Mason feels he has a lot in common with the President. Like the President, Mason is excels academically. He was recently awarded the President's Award for Academic Excellence at his school, which he will be leaving to enter the sixth grade.
Before heading off to his swim meet, I asked Mason what he likes most about the President.
He's honest. And, he wants health care for everybody.
Mason's mom, a former summer fellow and attorney, explained:
Mason sometimes has to defend the President at school. I want him to understand the reasons why we support the President and that we don't support a candidate just because he happens to be African-American.
Mason's 90-year-old grandmother also talks to him about the importance of voting. She will be casting her second vote for President Obama in November. If you are of voting age and want to learn more about voting in your city, go to GottaVote.org.
Alabamians congratulate the London organizers and the athletes participating in this year's Olympics!