Last Friday, the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad were supposed to open in Tokyo, Japan. As everyone who has not been living on some COVID-free planet for the past five months knows, these summer games have been postponed until July 23, 2021 because of our worldwide pandemic.
I have always been an Olympics fan. I enjoy the pageantry and the passion. I enjoy the patriotism. I enjoy watching the sports, even the ones with which I am entirely unfamiliar. I watch sports I do not understand during the Olympics simply because it is the Olympics. For two weeks in the summer every four years, the world celebrates excellence. I have always wanted to attend an Olympics and never have. Gluing myself to the television screen every waking hour of the day is likely the closest I will ever get. This Olympic year, I am not going to even get that.
I know the Olympic games and the Olympic spirit is not cancelled, simply postponed. I know that my mourning for the vicarious Olympic community experience is selfish considering what is going on around us right now. It is especially selfish because I am sure that the athletes who intended to be in Tokyo competing right now are having it much worse than I am. For many of them, I am sure Tokyo was to be the shining zenith of their athletic careers. A year’s postponement will be the same as a cancellation for some of these athletes. The “sweet spot” of athletic achievement opportunity will not always linger for another year. For the people who worked so hard all their lives to achieve a dream, a postponement may crush the dream. All I can do is pray that they can take that commitment and passion and channel it into another dream.
To me, the most excellent thing about the Olympics is not the sports. It is the people and the stories. I love meeting individuals who rise above poverty, obscurity, and hardship to become the best in the world at something. I love hearing the stories of competitors who purposely slow their own progress to help another athlete. My heart expands when the commentators tell us about love stories that grow between participants. I even love the commercials- the ones that introduce us to the relationships between parents and children, coaches and athletes, country and competitor. The Olympics are games, but they are also a movement, a spirit, and a flame.
As much as I love the games, my real passion is the movement, spirit, and flame. That flame could ignite all of hearts. It could ignite our hearts with peace, excellence, performance, and perseverance. Even those of us, like me, who will never become the best in the world at anything in particular, can use that flame to fuel our efforts to be the best people we can be. I don’t want to wait another whole year to feel that fire.
So even if the games of the XXXIII will not be gracing my television screen this year, I am going to use this time to research the golden hearts of these postponed Olympics. I am going to search for the people, the passion, and the stories that would have been woven into this summer’s games. Those people deserve for us to know their stories. I need to know those stories to build my own golden heart.
The good Lord willing, I will be watching the athletes of 2021 next July. I know the delayed Olympics will still move and inspire me. However, it is good remember that there are always golden hearts out there if we look!
Do you watch the Olympics? What is your favorite part about it? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have an excellent day!