Unless you live in a remote part of the world with no radio, TV or newspaper, you know that the Olympics are going on right now. Rich with all the diversity, scandal, and politics as ever, we also get to enjoy the athletes with their abilities, sorrows, joys, and dreams.
I have long been a fan of the Olympics, living out my dream of participating when the 2002 Olympics were held in Salt Lake and I was part of the volunteers who set up for the opening and closing ceremonies. I still have my little souvenirs; my name badge (really bad hair day), my official uniform, and the packets they had put on the seats for opening and closing ceremonies.
But while I enjoy the games, and watch them avidly, (I've been taping them and watching them the next day, we simply are too busy at night) I have begun to view them with a jaundiced eye. There is too much politics, too many judging booboos, and totally too much commentary by the networks. More focus is given to the athlete who is supposed to outshine all the others, putting others who have worked just as hard into the shadows.
I have enjoyed one aspect of these games -- someone pointed out that for every gold medal winner with parents cheering them on, there is the same for the other athletes. Parents who are watching with extreme pride as their child warms up or competes in preliminaries -- even if they never make it to a medal round, or win a medal. That's not the whole reason they're there.
Like the woman who lives in Salt Lake and attends the U of U, but is running the marathon for her native country. She is the first woman in history to do this. She has no illusions that she'll come away with a medal, but the sheer amazing fact that she's the first one in her country to do this is enough.
Some dreams are enough to simply be. While there are those driven to make it to the top of the podium, most are just wanting and thrilled to participate. The Olympics. Saying the word can give you chills if you think about it's its true intent.
I know they started out in Athens and all that, but I think today, to most of us average people they mean so much more. They represent the fact that our world is able to compete without (supposedly) fighting and dispute on a stage that everyone can watch.
It's a model for everyone. We who write, of course think of our podium -- having a best selling book -- but most of us would be happy to simply publish and be on the world stage. Many of us are happy to be in the writing world, getting the words out in front of someone to read, and feeling the thrill of seeing our words in print.
Too bad they don't have Olympics for writing...or is that the National Novel Writing Month?