Sports Your Mother Should Know | Beijing Makes For Great Dinner Conversation

Ed BloomingdaleCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2008

Hello and welcome to Bleacher Report's newest feature (until someone else reads Ryan Alberti's themed columns and comes up with something five minutes from now)!

My newfound Bleacher Report best friend Justin Swiderski and I were chatting recently about what makes a story big news, and we both realized we know the very instant a headline is huge: when our mothers know about it.

So we decided to buddy-up on a new column, Sports Your Mother Should Know, to bring you the sports news and topics you should be discussing with your mom each week. 

The column could serve several purposes—the truly sports-deprived mother could read and find new ways to engage her highly sports knowledgeable significant other.

Or, for those of us too in-depth with our sports news, it presents the opportunity to take a step back and view things in the big pictre, the way our moms might, giving us the opportunity for some good old mother-son (or husband, our daughter, or dog...) bonding.

And what better time to kick off a column for our moms than during the summer Olympics, something nearly every non-comatose mother in the world has probably heard of.

As for those Beijing storylines that mom may have heard, or could be capable of discussing:

Surely mom would be interested in the main headline-grabber at these Beijing games, Michael Phelps.  The 23-year-old superswimmer has dominated NBC's primetime coverage, and deservedly so, as he romped to a record eight gold medals. 

Mom might love that he's young and completely ripped, wearing those special Speedo pants low to show off every muscle in his 18-pack.  She'd probably also be endeared by Phelps' unorthodox interviews, where he sounds like he's still gurgling water or maybe is mildly retarded (mothers go weak in the knees for stuff like that).

The most appealing thing for your mother, though, would probably be the heartwarming shots of Phelps' own mother in the stands for each of his races, shouting and crying and cheering as her son became a legend.  One camera even caught Phelps asking producers if they could find his mom in the crowd while he was on the medal stand.


If your mom isn't the gushy type and prefers hardcore controversy to emotionally dripping stories of triumph, then perhaps you'd best steer her toward gymnastics, which have been seemingly the second-most prevalent among NBC's primetime offerings.

Maybe mom would love to talk about the supposedly underage Chinese gymnasts.  If this comes up, be sure to espouse all the values about not cheating and playing by the rules that she taught you. This could segue perfectly into discussion about the Chinese gymnast who landed her vault on her knees and still beat American Alicia Sacramone for Bronze.

Mom has probably also heard the name Shawn Johnson dropped around a few times, so she might want clarified that Johnson is a female gymnast, despite what her muscular body and name suggest.  Mom might also be confused about Nastia Liukin, who is beating Johnson while competing for America, not Russia.

If mom wasn't confused, though, then that could be a deep topic for the two of you to delve into, watching these two amazing gymnasts compete against each other while NBC runs a medal count based on countries simultaneously.  Maybe mom has an opinion on just who the Olympics are about, individuals or internationals.

If mom's just joining the Olympic coverage, though, then maybe she's more focused on Usain Bolt, who's set two world records in track and field while winning two gold medals.

If your mom is like mine, she might enjoy taking Bolt's name into consideration for the best of the Olympics (a sprinter with a lightning name? too perfect), right up there with Canadian gymnast Karen Cockburn. Topic for debate: Do medals count in greatest name competitions (Bolt has two golds, Cockburn one silver)? And what has more weight, apropos or humor? You and mom could go on for hours.

Think about it, Bleacher Creatures: Your mother has cooked for you during bowl season, cleaned up after your fantasy drafts and Super Bowl parties, produced your sports-loving self from her own body—the least you could do is see what she knows about the Olympics.