One World – Why I Love the Olympics

You see it in stores, in houses, in coffee shops and restaurants. It’s on billboards, webpages, tablets, and smartphones. It’s on the minds and lips of everyone: The Olympics. Every 4 years the world comes together to showcase the best physical specimens they have to offer. People invest time, effort and energy into watching their favorites compete, with hopes of being able to identify with their efforts for Olympic Gold.

As an athlete, I have a definite love for the games. I get hyped with every race, feel the adrenaline pumping through my body as the athletes near the finish, and understand the emotion of both victory and defeat. There is something life-giving about watching the Olympics. The Olympics show that it is OK to have dreams and pursue them, for it is at the Olympics that many dreams come true.

There’s another reason I love the Olympics though, and it has nothing to do with the athletes. It is what you see when you look in the stadiums and stages: nations, races, colors, beliefs all converging, participating together as one group of individuals. They are not battling over oil or money. No one is exploiting another for profit. There are no wars, no prisoners, no casualties. Only healthy competition, winners and challengers and the potential to come back again in 4 years and do it all over again. Whatever hatreds and prejudices there may be, they are left at the door of the stadium. The Olympics becomes the big equalizer. It takes the best of the best to show that we are all just (and marvelously so) human.

When I was in high school, at the start of every track meet, our team would get together and pray for both teams. We never prayed to win, which shocked a bunch of people. We weren’t concerned with what side of town the other team was from, what the ethnic or religious mix of the competition was or the right or wrong family structure each participant came from. We prayed that each athlete would perform to the best of their ability, that they would be able to walk away from the competition better than they were before. Rivalries were only for the sake of the competition. Outside of that, we were all the same: friends and acquaintances who loved the same sport and same race, and sought to challenge each other. Winning only proved that we won that race. It didn’t make me a better Christian, a more blessed person, a superior race or nationality. Just that on that day, I outperformed someone else. The next day it might be my friend’s turn, but the more we raced, the closer we became.

I wonder, what would happen if instead of prizes of gold, silver and bronze, we came together to look at world hunger, or child exploitation, or hatred and prejudice. If we challenged each other to love more and give more. If the “one world” of the Olympics really became the norm. It’s a dream, and I think it is a good one. It is a dream that the Olympics can help inspire us to make a reality, for the Olympics is a place where dreams come true.

Notable Notables

These are just  some of the people whose world view continues to inspire me in my one world dream:

J. Clement Wall – writer extraordinaire, J stepped into something that started as a thought, turned into a dream, and blossomed into a movement. You can find out about the Love movement that has touched so many around the world at http://www.ahumanthing.net.

Gina “SuuperG” Stark – Gina has the privilege of exposing the rest of us to the world, as she travels from country to country, making friends, learning culture, and sampling some wonderful food. Mark Twain said “ travel is fatal to prejudice bigotry and narrow-mindedness “, and Gina is carrying on that tradition. Share Gina’s adventures and travels at http://gitanablog.com.

Evan Sanders – I have come to love Evan’s blog. His premise is simple: “The world needs better men. This blog is simply my journey to becoming a better man every day and the lessons I learn along the way.” It is hard to argue with such a statement. I would encourage you to check out http://thebettermanprojects.wordpress.com.

2 Replies to “One World – Why I Love the Olympics”

  1. You’re awesome, Kenneth, I think I knew your thoughts about this even before reading the actual blog post. And it makes so much sense to me to play for the fun of it, to pray for both teams. Maybe that’s just our default setting, love.

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