Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Fever

I'm growing slightly obsessed with the Winter Olympics this time around. Normally I'm only interested in the figure skating, but I've spent the weekend watching the skiing, speed skating and luge, as well. The athleticism is truly impressive in its own right, on top of which I get rather choked up at times when they do the sidebar spotlights on certain athletes, and you see how far they have come and how much they have sacrificed to get to the top of their field.

It's pretty inspiring to witness the dedication of these athletes. Sports isn't really my thing, nor is cold, but watching them makes me think about what it means to commit to a goal, and how many different ways there are to measure success.

Sometime I'm envious of the Olympians for the fact that the goal they pursue is so concrete: an Olympic medal. Yet so few people can achieve that, so there must be other triumphs that they experience along the way that have meaning, otherwise why put yourself through the wringer like that? Is it really all about the endgame?

My favorite Olympic story so far is about a 17-year old American ski jumper whose entire family skipped Christmas and pooled their money to send him to compete. The announcers were all busy saying he had "no chance" to medal, and he didn't, but the grin on his face when he landed a personal best jump in Olympic snow has to mean something.

Maybe it's just about walking off the field knowing you put your absolute top effort out there to be measured against the best of the best. Maybe there's joy in the attempt, not just the victory. I hope so, but either way, I'll be watching!

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