I've always liked the Olympics, winter or summer. It's impressive to me that someone can commit themselves so completely to pushing their bodies and minds beyond what an average dude like me would even think about. And it's funny, sometimes they make it look so effortless, morons like me sit on the couch, watch them on TV and think..."I could do that if I practiced a little". Yeah right bud....weren't you the one with the vien popping out of your forehead trying to overcome the vacuum seal on your new bag of "cool ranch" Doritos?
The Olympics mean something. It's something different to just about everyone, but they do mean something. This year in particular though, I think the games have an added burden to bear, and added dimension of importance that the athletes don't even realize, maybe no one anywhere realizes. Scarier to me than no one realizing though, is no one caring....no one caring enough about the games and this country to put it all together. What is this extra load to bear? Quite simply, this country needs a fix. We are a country divided....cracked....broken...in need of some TLC and a heavy dose of pride and motivation. I think the Olympics are the place to start. Obvious I guess, to pick on the Olympics, but I won't apologize for that.
Thinking about "the games"....there are so many good lessons to be learned from these guys and girls. We all need examples of commitment, to see the path of actually chasing a goal.
We also need to address the myth, "you can do anything you set your mind to"....well, no, sometimes you can't. For every team member representing our country, how many have trained, dreamt, bled, dripped sweat, and failed to make the team? Sometimes you can give it everything you have, and it's just not fast enough, or high enough, or heavy enough....and as hard as that pill is to swallow...it's okay, it's life, and it's part of the game.
Where would we be if those poeple, those dreamers and warriors for their goal...where would we be if they had not tried? Imagine the level of mediocrity we'd succumb to if they hadn't been there pushing, training, competing. Those "almost made it" players, they define the best, they drive others to be better, to improve because they have to as well.
Without some falling short, but working incredibly hard to do so, we'd have nothing more than a middle school track team--where no one gets cut and everyone is part of the team, and very few care to stand out and excel.
We are in an election year and we are divided. Every aspect of our daily lives are constantly up for debate and we are bombarded with being forced to "choose a side" every time we turn on our computers. Social media has become a new form of political commercials, and daily status updates are either re-affirming our beliefs or causing us to internally debate whether or not a particular friendship is too valuable to comment on their post in defense of your values or opinions---I'm guessing more often than not we just let it slide.
Amidst all the chaos, all the chatter and disagreement, there can be little doubt that we still live in the greatest country in the world. But we could be better.....a lot better. We have a lot on the table right now as a country, a lot to discuss, debate, and work on, and I hope everyone seriously spends time looking at the issues that will be thrown around the rest of the summer and up to elections. I hope people vote the issues and not party. I hope that we all take advantage of being a part of an incredible system....knowing that as hard as we might work at it, as hard as we campaign or just talk with friends, and as much passion we might invest in something....we might lose. But in that fight, in that effort, those around you will become better, smarter, more informed, more whole....a better representative for this country.
And in between all of that, I hope we can all sit down together, eat some Doritos, hang an American flag on our front porch, turn on our TV's, and cheer on our own as they lay it all on the line as representatives of the best the United States has to offer. We need that time together, unified, proud, and with the same hope for victory...not for ourselves, and not just for those who work so hard for the gold, but for everyone blessed enough to call this country our home.
Yes, the Olympics mean something big this year, and if the only thing we share this year is a hope for a gold medal or two....well, that is something.