Am I the only one?
I love me some Olympics!
I watch the opening ceremonies. I watch the closing ceremonies. And I stay up late to watch whatever is on in between. I love when my country wins. I’m disappointed when my country loses. And I’ll even admit to getting a little misty-eyed with pride on occasion when I see the stars and stripes flying above the crowd as our national anthem is played.
But as the world begins the 2012 Summer Olympics, something is missing, and that thing is excitement.
No one has been talking about the Olympics, speculating on it, looking forward to it, and some people seem not to know it’s going on at all.
Now I know many of you out there are saying to yourselves, “Hey, I’m watching. I’m interested. I’m excited,” and I’m sure you are. But think about it. Has it really been a topic of conversation? Has anyone brought it up or seemed to want to talk about it?
Probably not. It seems like people have become indifferent to seeing the world come together (as it refuses to do for just about anything else) for great athletic competition, to make history, to see people giving their all for a shiny “gold” medal and the honor of being the best for at least that one moment.
It’s amazing, and I’m disappointed that I seem to be nearly alone in my enthusiasm.
It’s a shame, too. I have vivid memories of gathering around the TV every evening with my family to watch the Olympics when I was a kid. It was a big deal. We rooted for the good ol’ U. S. of A. and talked about the athletes and events even though none of us were particularly athletic. Most importantly, we enjoyed something together as a family and so did almost everyone else.
Now I know it’s become commercialized and superficial in a lot of ways. I know Coke and McDonald’s would have you believe that eating a Big Mac every day and sucking down sugary carbonated beverages will somehow make you a great athlete. I also know listening to Bob Costas for hours on end might be annoying to some. But c’mon! It’s the Olympics!
There are many things worth witnessing in this world — acts of bravery and courage, acts of love and kindness, even acts of hatred and anger (if only to learn and see clearly enough to never let such things happen again). But surely acts of great athleticism deserve some interest, too?
These athletes have trained for years, some for their whole lives, to be able to achieve the limits of what the human body can do. I realize if they win big, they’ll make lots of money from endorsements and advertisements and so on, and maybe that cheapens it for many people. Maybe I’m naïve in believing that these athletes are mostly doing it for the honor, the glory and the privilege of the competition, but I do. Maybe it’s just not your thing and never has been. That’s okay. Usually, I don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in the world of swimming, gymnastics or track and field either, and I imagine most people don’t.
But for the next few weeks, I’ll be suffering from OSD (Olympic Sleep Depravation) as I stay up late to watch our country and hundreds of others compete to be the best.