I’ll Stop the World

Sochi OlympicsThe Olympics are in full force.  Social media is a buzz with all the happenings of the winter games.  We watch the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  We cheer.  We cry.  We marvel.  Or do we?

I grew up with parents who just weren’t really into sports.  I have no real distinct memories of watching the Olympics.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t watch them, but I just don’t remember.  The “miracle” of 1980 happened and I didn’t know about it until nearly two and a half decades later when Disney decided to make a movie about it.  Although I was old enough to have experienced it firsthand, I didn’t.

When I stop to think about the power in the Olympics though, I’m kind of astonished.  I mean, it seems that the whole world stops, people gather around, they watch in wonder and awe as athletes who have trained for months and years put it all on the line.  Years of hard work can be rewarded or dashed in a matter of seconds or minutes.  Conditions, nerves, equipment, nearly anything can contribute to the outcome.  And we watch…

Well, some of us watch.  Others of us aren’t so enthralled with the Olympics.  Like I said, it just wasn’t something that I grew up making a priority.  My wife, on the other hand, it was an experience with her family and to not have the Olympics seems un-American to her.  Throughout the other times of the year, the TV might stay on the news in the background while various tasks are being done around the house, but when the Olympics are on, they replace the news, they become the main thing.

A friend pushed back a little on my apathy towards the Olympics and I had to really stop and take a look at what he was saying.  These games have the power of being way more bipartisan than politics ever could be.  It doesn’t matter whether we are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, Northern or Southern, or whatever, there can be commonality when we gather to cheer for our country, the United States of America.  While we may not agree on many things, when it comes to patriotism over these games, can we come together?

It would seem that we could find that common ground, at the very least.  We can come together and agree on at least one thing.  Isn’t that enough?  Where could it go from there?

It seems that we focus a lot on our differences rather than looking at similarities.  When we start with the differences, we start off in opposition, diametrically opposed to one another, but when we find the similarities, we start on level ground, we find a place of commonality and I wonder how much more we could learn from each other when we begin to focus more on the commonalities and move out from there.

We see our differences, but they end up becoming bigger than our similarities.  We do things backwards, our differences should be what we discover after the things that we can agree upon.  Why have we come to this place?  How did we get here?

So, when the Olympics end up on my TV tonight, maybe instead of looking away, I’ll think about the fact that there are millions of other people all across the country and across the world who have come together for one common goal: to cheer for their countries.  That’s a good place to start, and where we go from there is anyone’s guess.

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