Balance. It is an ongoing challenge for most of us as we try to juggle multiple roles, relationships and responsibilities. And no one is a more shining illustration of achieving this elusive place than Summer Sanders. “As we are talking, I am helping my kids (one would like some chocolate pudding and the other is under the weather), stirring my spaghetti sauce, while dressed in running clothes because I’m hoping to get a workout in later!”…but this is a typical day for the Olympic swimmer, TV personality and caring mother. She shares that “balance is quality time with my kids, a good workout, and maybe even a clean kitchen!” As a busy working mom and wife, she offers her insights on parenting and managing life via her website and blog entitled “The Daily Juice”. However, it’s not that Summer has found a magical secret to maintain some Zen in her life, but rather she knows the importance of valuing what is significant to create a happy, healthy and fun adventure for her family. “Simplify!” exclaims Summer, “what are the most important things? When you sit down and think about it, it’s really very simple.” So as we catch up with one of America’s sporty sweethearts, maybe take a few minutes to consider not only what nourishes your life, but simply excites your heart…
Ebb and flow: Frank Herbert said, “There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves”; and no one did that better in the nineties than Summer. After winning numerous National titles, breaking American Records and standing on the Olympic podium, Summer decided to pursue her passion outside of the pool-television. “I always wanted to be an Olympic swimmer and on TV-those were my two loves! It was a natural transition…I absolutely love the adrenaline of live TV”. Summer has acted as a commentator during several Olympic Games, hosted hits such as NBAInside Stuff, The Sports List, MTV’s Sandblast, Skating with Celebrities, Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out and earlier this year even made time to compete for charity on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice.
But Summer didn’t just focus on her career. Since 1996, she has been involved with Right to Play, a non-profit organization which does wonderful work trying to improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged and war torn areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace. “I’ve been with Right to Play for a long time. The idea felt like home when I took the call fromJohann Koss. I was looking for a way to give my time and efforts, not just my money. I think so many people are in the same position, wanting to give back.” She realizes what sports has brought into her life as she values teamwork, dedication, making positive choices, and the significance of every child having the opportunity to play.
Brighter than sunshine: This past summer has been all about family for her as she enjoyed the abundance of quality play time alongside her husband,Olympic skier Erik Schlopy, and their two beautiful children. She laments that “my favorite time of day is picking up the kids at school. I am so lucky that I have two little people who love me so much and I absolutely love them”. But these last few months also marked a first for the super-mom and star athlete; she competed in her first triathlon. Summer shares that “It was so much fun! My girlfriends and I trained at 5:30 a.m. together and it was great doing it with really good friends. But, our favorite part was the coffee stop after working out! The triathlon was an important day in our lives- now we want to do a destination tri together!”
But this sporty gal doesn’t stop at thriving in a new sport; she is also an adamant Fantasy Football fan. About six years ago Summer got involved with this new passion, and even has her own all girl league! “I love when women are into sports. It’s so fun to all get together, men and women, on game days because girls watch it too!” And Summer isn’t alone in her love of fantasy football- a growing number of passionate TomGlamorous women are out there who don their team’s jersey and cheer louder than the boys. As Summer says, “When a woman gets passionate about something…you better watch out!” So as she excels in this stage of her life, its exciting to wonder what is next for her, but she is absolutely content living and loving in her moment.
One thing is for sure, Summer is known for and prides herself on being a professional fourth grader- something many of us have long forgotten how to master. She was raised to enjoy life and it was while she hosted Figure it Out when she first realized how powerful a kid’s point of view is and how it can affect you.While growing up, her father always would say that“life’s a party; it’s just that most people don’t know they’re invited.” It seems that Summer does realize this, as she focuses on the joys of being an active mom, and sharing her zest for life with others. Simply, she appreciates that some things are truly important: laughing with the ones you love, getting outdoors every chance you get, and enjoying a really good spaghetti dinner. So remember to aim for a balanced existence, and along the way- make sure to show up for your own party.
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