I won’t be getting too much sleep over the next few weeks because the Olympics is now on. Once every four years I create a huge groove in my easy chair as I lay ease my frame into it for hours at a time. I love the Olympics; I love the spirit of it and the camaraderie of the teams. I have watched fencing, volleyball, soccer and the first running event already and I am hooked again.
The first thing I have noticed is the age of the athletes. The OLD ones really stand out because the young own the Olympics. In gymnastics you are an old lady if you are 20 years old. The Cuban volleyball team looked like junior high kids to me even though they were all over 6 foot tall and could jump over my head. The Brazilian superstar women’s soccer player is still in High School. During the opening ceremonies the youth from every culture parade by the cameras. They come out dignified in their national uniforms to hear their country announced in three different languages and then the cheers of the crowds. For most of them, that will be their only moment in the TV spotlight as the file into the stadium since they have no chance of medalling in their event. As they approach the TV camera for their 15 seconds of fame they wave their small flags and then look strait into the camera and … stick out their tongue, pull a funny face, and even say “hi mom” just like every teenager in the world would do.
You can take the kids out of their teenage years but not the teenagers out of the kids. All the sacrifice and hard work that got them there is forgotten as they pose for the camera for those few seconds. To be at the Olympics is the goal and the win becomes secondary.
As we continue in a season of war and terrorism in our world we take a breath and pause for just a few weeks and focus on the joy of being human – together. Competition breeds respect, which breeds acceptance, which leads to understanding and perhaps … love.