Friday, Feb. 12, 2010
Its that time once again when the world, or at least a part of it, comes together to celebrate sport. Sorry if youve (not) heard this before, but is anyone paying attention? Besides the NHL involvement, I cant say that Ive heard anyone talking about it. Wheres Gillooly when you need him? Wheres the hype machine? Well as were about to find out, sometimes you dont need one. I know theyve been X-gamed out a little bit, but the Winter Olympics always seemed to be a little more fun to me, a little more about the athletic endeavor. I mean, you ski how far, then shoot things? Now that takes dedication! Not to mention, what a great idea. There should be more tings that combine a sport with shooting things. Oh, right, we already have the NBA!
Obviously the best thing about these games will be the individual and collective inspirational stories of the athletes involved. (Im not always old and bitter, well almost!) For the most part I like everyone else, dont know about many of the athletes (or sports) that Im about to be compelled by, but I will. Well not all of the sports. I swear they explain the rules of curling at every Olympics (even the summer ones!) and I can never remember what the heck theyre trying to do. And another thing, what is the difference between the skeleton and luge? Any other sports that can be reversed? (Easy!)
Anyway, what I always take from any Olympics, after I get through all of the baggage, is the thrill of competition and what it means to these athletes. For some of us, as you get older, the competitions get further and further apart, so most of my thrill of competition is to watch those waging it. For the vast majority of these competitors, this is it. No big endorsements or pro careers. They get one or two shots at achieving greatness and thats it. Thats a lot of pressure. When someone is able to achieve success, or near, you cant help but not feel for them. Or better yet, feel a connection with them. As we all go through our lives, we all face many battles and hurdles along the way. But we persevere because thats what we have to do, usually anonymously and without a lot of fanfare, same as many of the winter athletes. There arent as many sports, nor as many viewers. But the humanness of competition, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat will be felt by all of us who do watch.
So sit back, or come into your favorite establishment (33 W. Kinzie) and enjoy the Games as they unfold with the understanding that, almost without fail, something cool is about to happen that you never thought you would appreciate or understand. Take it for what it is, someone giving there all and being rewarded for it.