"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
I'm not a huge sports fan. I don't really enjoy sitting and watching a game in its entirety and cheering for my team. Well, you know; apart from the 2010 Olympic Canada/USA hockey game, which was awesome, and the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, when the Canucks broke my heart. What can I say? I'm a fair-weather fan.
It's Winter Olympics time again, so people are glued to their TVs and even the downtown library pushed a television up against a window so passersby could watch the events unfold. I love the sense of community that this event brings. Oh, and, yes, I know there are a lot of politics and complaints surrounding the Games.
But the drama and naysayers are not what I care about. Neither are the actual winners (though obviously I love it when Canada owns the podium), or even the sports (although I do love the sliding and the snow). It's not even about the Norwegian Men's Curling Team Pants, seen here, here and here.
No, what really inspires me, when it comes to the Olympics, is the sheer force of determination, drive, motivation and desire to create and live a dream come true that I see on the faces of so many who compete. It is the look of hunger and achievement on the faces of athletes who've given their lives to see a dream through and give it all they've got.
These are people who've faced overwhelming odds to beat the best of the very best and climb their way to the top, where they win the right to compete again in their sport of choice. They push boundaries and they sacrifice God-knows-what that most of us probably wouldn't give up, to train and push their bodies to the outer edges of human ability, and then hope and pray they won't suffer an injury or equipment failure at the moment of reckoning. Much like the rest of us in our "normal" lives, they fall down. They get hurt. Their gear gives out before their spirits do. Sportsmanship, compassion, empathy and camaraderie are all products of the dreams of these elite few.
And, when all is said and done, only three can take home a medal and only one can take home the gold. Are those on the lower podiums—those holding the silver or bronze—any less a champion? Was their journey any less heroic? Perhaps, depending on who you ask. But, they beat all the rest to get there. Was it worth it, or was it all for nothing? Only those few would be able to tell us, and I'm sure that there are many on either side of that fence (and probably many stuck in the middle or jumping back and forth). It's all just an interpretation, anyway.
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Either way, though, I can't help but think that to know what it is you want to do, what you are going to do, and then actually persevering and DOING it, now that is the real prize. Even for all of us non-Olympians; choice after choice after choice, we find ourselves along the path we have created, whether it's an Olympic dream or our "normal" lives. All the sacrifices aside, that is living for something.
And, living for something is exactly what we are all here to do.
What are you here to do? What is it that inspires you? Would you do it, even if you might fail?
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