Everyone who knows me knows that I am no athlete. The most exercise I get is jumping to conclusions or running a temperature. And as for sports, I like curling…up with a good book! But the Olympics are another matter altogether. It is beyond thrilling to watch these young athletes compete, where the difference between their scores is measured in hundredths of a second! And heartbreaking when a figure skater misses a jump that she has executed perfectly a thousand times in practice.
The Olympics plays with our emotions, to be sure. We cheer passionately for our American teams, of course, but when a small country fields a team of one or two, we rarely know the depth of sacrifice and commitment that has gone into that entry. On the playing field, or the ice, in one way they all look alike: the fire that drives them to excel…in spite of injury, family tragedies, or national politics…is intensely powerful!
There is a story behind every athlete’s competitive drive which I think compels us to watch and, perhaps, makes us all a little envious. What might each of us have achieved if we had committed to something so totally at a young age? I always wonder what it was that grabbed them early on and made them know that this was what they were meant to do. (And why is it so seldom math or science that grabs a kid?)
Well, the U.S. has done extremely well in this Olympics. I sincerely congratulate each of them, and the other competitors as well. It has been joyful and inspiring to watch.