Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why the Olympics Matter

In spite of all the endless criticisms and cynicism that people toss at the Olympics -- its commercialization, drug use, cheating, financial woes, national differences, glossy hype, failed medal expectations, focus on a single winner in a single event at a single moment in history -- why is it that I still totally, completely, believe that the Olympics Matter?  What it is that moves me so deeply every single time I watch an Opening Ceremonies, or every time I watch an Olympic or Paralympic event?

Very simply, the Olympics embody the very best that our imperfect human race in our complex and troubled planet has to put forward right now: the very best of our best (and even their selection is imperfect), Olympian Athletes, battling the same kind of internal demons and fears we all share in our human experience, trying to accomplish their very highest dreams and aspirations, and with half the world watching, demonstrating their successes and failures in reaching them.

In doing so, the Olympics strive to achieve the highest hopes and dreams for one world, one people, and that illusive "Peace on Earth" - through athletes and Sport of all things! Not through a thousand government meetings and held-up peace agreements, not by wars or skirmishes settled by weapons or military might, not through concentrated prayer by a thousand world religions, or by newspapers or magazines, websites or global networks, not by doctors or lawyers, or multi-cultural groups telling us how to get along together.

For 17 days every 2 years, the closest we get to world harmony and peace at this time in our human history is achieved through a shared love of games and competitive sport, simple child's play: through Games!

So the Olympics may be imperfect, but that is their beauty to me. The Olympics Matter because we are imperfect, and they inspire us to keep us trying, and keep our eyes on the goal.

The Olympics matter because, in spite of all the criticism, they continue to strive for the very best our human race has to offer - Freedom, Equality, Integrity, Respect, Perseverance, Courage, Dignity, Fairness, Friendship, Co-operation, and Peace.

May the Olympics always matter.