The 2020 Family Olympics

Pull a team together and compete for laughs

By Jenna Wines

School field days and the 2020 Summer Olympics may have been canceled this year. Yet, you can still host friendly competitions at home. Digital communications specialist Jenna Wines tells how her family turned to Tik Tok and an old game show to plan Olympic-sized, intergenerational fun.

Jenna Wines

My family lives in Virginia, and for almost three years now, I’ve called myself a Charlottean. My parents were supposed to visit me for my birthday back in March, which ended up being the first weekend of the stay-at-home order. So, I waited until travel restrictions lifted and visited their home the week of my dad’s birthday – six months after our last visit.

I hope everyone gets to experience the assurance of a loved one’s hug after several months of near-isolation and all the stresses that come with it. How did I show my appreciation? I watched them struggle to catch pieces of paper falling from a ceiling fan and pitted them against each other in a bottle flip tournament.

My brother (22) and I (25) didn’t want our dad’s birthday to whisper by as ours had, so we created our own family Olympics. We took inspiration from the old TV show “Minute To Win It” and current trends on Tik Tok, and we created a field day of sorts at our childhood home.

My “too-much” gene kicked in as I assigned uniforms, designed race bibs, hid game title signs and created a scoreboard. My brother found a Spotify playlist with championship music you may hear at the Olympics or in a video game. We planned in secret and sent our parents to walk around a nearby park as we set up the signs, games and uniforms.

That afternoon, we competed and laughed so hard our abs were sore, and we woke up the next day with the best memories. The highlight of my 2020? Watching my mom stuff free-falling paper into her shirt, my dad win at “Big Cup Pong” and my brother catch whipped cream on his face instead of in his mouth.

We still talk about lobbing balls out of my brother’s second-story bedroom window. My dad delights in telling his work buddies and neighborhood friends about the way we celebrated his birthday.

Holidays are about to get a whole lot harder for our family to plan. Both of us “kids” are officially college graduates now, employed and out of the house. We made an agreement: We’re going to have a field day every year.

Turning my parent’s house into a game-filled jamboree gave us the best summer memories — and a new family tradition.

Want to create your own Olympics?

Collect items from around your home and time different competitions. Here is some inspiration:

1. Droppin’ Bottles
Place baseballs in pantyhose legs, place the pantyhose on your head and knock over water bottles on the ground.

2. Social Distance
Estimate 6 feet on the blank side of a measuring tape and see whose estimates are the most accurate.

3. Rainin’ Paper
Rip office paper into pieces or place dollar bills on a ceiling fan’s blades. Turn on the fan and have participants catch the paper before it hits the ground.

4. Quarter Spin
Who can spin a quarter the longest?

5. PPE Time
Time the putting on of gloves and a mask to see who can do it the quickest.

6. Are You Faster Than a Fridge?
Drink from a straw, not letting the water overflow a cup as you fill it from a water dispenser.

7. Cube Count
Hold a cup under an ice cube dispenser long enough to get 10 cubes exactly. The closest to 10 cubes wins.

8. Giant Pong
Toss balls from a second-story window into a bin.

9. Bottle Flip Tourney
Whoever can get a bottle to land right-side-up first moves forward.

10. Big Cup Pong
Toss the ping pong ball into the big solo cup.

11. The Last Flight
Make a paper airplane that will go the farthest.

12. Whipped Cream Catch
Spray whipped cream on your arm and catch it in your mouth after throwing it into the air.