It’s my favorite time that only comes once every two years.
Yes folks, it’s the Olympics. In London this year, the lovely city that I had the pleasure of visiting just a few months ago. The views of the city during the Games makes me want to go back, oh, yesterday, but for now I’ll have to stick to dreaming of going back.
My affection for London aside, I love the Olympics. LOVE them. I’m not entirely sure when this fascination started, but I do my best to make sure I watch as much of them as possible. Certain sports hold more appeal for me than others, but overall, there’s just something about the Olympics that’s special.
- There’s something pretty neat about almost every country in the world taking part in one activity. If you read up on the history of the Games, you soon discover there’s been a considerable amount of drama surrounding the Games, with countries boycotting certain Games, some being cancelled due to war, and a myriad of other not-so-lovely circumstances. But when the athletes are on the track, or in the pool, or perched on the balance beam–the drama probably doesn’t seem so important. What matters there is the competition, the chance to excel at whatever sport they’ve spent months and years practicing. The conflict between countries fades, and it becomes individual and team battles that spur the athletes on to keep trying.
- Few things produce such instantaneous emotional reactions as a great victory or crushing defeat.
Last night I watched the Ukrainian Men’s Gymnastics Team believe they were going to be receiving a bronze medal…only to be pushed off the podium after a Japanese gymnast’s score was contested, then raised. As the Ukrainian men’s faces fell, I wanted to hug them all. Nearby, the British men celebrated their first men’s gymnastic medal in years and years, in front of a crowd of their home country. I wanted to hug them too. (Granted, I frequently want to hug many people in everyday life) But the raw emotion seen in the Games gets me out of my seat, giddy with excitement, as well as holding back tears. And I love it.
- Patriotism. It’s not something I have a ton of experience with, but the Olympics stirs it up in me. Even if I’ve never heard of the person before, if they live in a different state than I do, or seem, from their Twitter stream at least, like they might actually be a jerk in real life, if they’re sporting the stars and stripes, I’ll probably be pleased if they win. Not that the US is the only team I’ll cheer for, but they’re the first ones I’ll cheer for. Because even though the US is kinda messed up sometimes, we produce some mighty fine athletes, and I am more than willing to support their success.
I could go on and on about why I love the Olympics. I’m not naive to think they’re perfect; I know that, like everything in life, these displays of athleticism and talent have been tainted and corrupted, sometimes with visible outcomes. But I will keep watching, keep cheering, and keep enjoying…at least for the next 12 days.
Til next time…