Sunday, August 24, 2008

Emotions of Olympic Proportions


Man, I'm a mess.

I don't know what it is about this year's Olympics, but from the moment I saw those electronic drums at the opening ceremonies to seeing the huge Olympic flame extinguished tonight, I'm buying stock in Kleenex.

There were so many amazing stories of heart and soul and grit and I felt privileged to be a part of the viewing audience.

I'm a former college basketball All-American so I know what it means to train hard and want to win so badly you can taste it. But I can't imagine everything that goes into the dream that only comes around every 4 years and then see that dream dashed in a heartbeat.

I'm thinking especially of Lolo Jones in the hurdles.

I was SO IMPRESSED with Lolo's interview immediately after her race. She was so poised and gracious after her fall at the 9th hurdle, but when they showed her later under the stadium my heart broke for her as she leaned against the wall sobbing.

Then there was Shawn Johnson who finally got her gold medal on the beam. And her Chinese coach coming home for the Olympics with his star student? Don't get me started. And I literally jumped up when Jonathan Horton completed his routine on the high bar last night.

Well, what can I say about Michael (he doesn't need a last name, does he?)? Here's a great article about Michael's sisters' influence referenced by Dave Rothacker at Joyful Jubilant Learning.

Then there's 41-year-old Dara Torres and her amazing silvers as well as the sportsmanship she demonstrated when she stopped her preliminary race to allow one of her competitors a chance to fix a ripped suit.

Among the other many amazing stories that touched me were these:

Those unbelievable handoffs in the relays that dashed Olympic dreams for at least 3 teams. The men's basketball team draping Coach K with their medals. Debbie Phelps in the stands. Natalie du Toit of South Africa competing with half a leg in the open water swim against able-bodied athletes. The men's volleyball team winning the gold while coach Hugh McCutcheon talks about the joy and the sorrow he's experiencing after winning the gold and losing his father-in-law to a random killer.

I'm so grateful that I had a chance to experience these special moments, even though it meant I didn't get nearly enough sleep these last two weeks.

I don't know what I'll do with myself now that this year's Olympics are over. I'll just look forward to 2012 in London.

And stock up on the Kleenex.

2 Comments:

At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Dan S. said...

I am in the exact same shape as you. I have come to see the value and beauty in God's greatest creation; people. The Olympic games allow one an opportunity to see that we are actually all the same in what is on the inside, no matter how we may differ on the outside. Before the games, I had a pretty high level of disdain for the Chinese people, Government and country in general. During the opening ceremonies, when Bob Costas began to talk about the 9 y.. boy, Lin Hoa, that helped rescue some of his classmates after the huge earthquake hit, I found tears welling up in my eyes. My primary job, for now, is that of being a firefighter, and our mission is to save lives and property, and I know what it takes to stay in an adverse place,Spiritually, mentally, and physically, to help another person and what he did was absolutely heroic. My eyes were opened to the idea that the Chinese are people too, and that their situation can be changed through interaction with others that value life,liberty,and the free and open exchange of ideas.I am currently trying to find out how to contact Lin, and I am going to send him one of my old, personal fire helmets, as a tribute to his bravery, and doing what a firefighter does, save lives. That was just the start of the games, when the games ended, and the torch was put out, I felt a sorrow begin, as I wait for the winter Olympics in Vancouver B.C. in 2010. There were indeed so many stories of great perseverance and overcoming with the athletes, and if they can do it so can we, after all we are all the same inside. Come on 2010!!! Thank God for the 2 John Williams Olympic Music CD's. They are wonderful soundtracks and help keep the Olympic Spirit going!

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Dan:

Thank you so much for reminding me that yes, everyone, no matter what their upbringing or ethnic background, is the same as I am ... we are all doing the best we can with what we have.

Thank you for what you do as a true hero in the world. I'm betting that's a job that really can take a lot out of you, but also put a lot into you. I know I, for one, appreciate everything you do!

Thanks so much for visiting - and I, too, will be looking forward to 2010 and then 2012 ... and 2014, and 2016 .....!

 

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