The Olympic Games are about to begin. I love the Olympics. I love watching sports. My fascination with the Olympics are two fold. First because it is a chance to see sports that are not often made popular. Here in the states, we get the big 4 or 5 pushed in our face. Football Baseball, Basketball, Hockey… these are great but only represent a small fraction of sports and even smaller fraction of athletes. The Olympics give us a chance to enjoy the variety of competitive situations we humans have been able to imagine.
Individual sports are my personal favorite, the excitement of one person versus another person like in Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Tae Kwon Do and Fencing. Also team competitions like volley ball, water polo ( a rough sport) and football (soccer) offers skill versus skill. I like the human being versus human being part of these events. It seems less arbitrary than the sports against judges.
Now, I love watching Diving and Gymnastics, but when the competition is based on the opinion of the judges, the results seem less than perfectly fair. Most exciting are the races like Swimming and Track. These sports see the athlete go all out.
This brings me to the second reason the Olympics are popular. We get to see the best or species has to offer.The Olympics are our chance to see how fast we can run, how hard we can hit, how much weight we can lift, how high we can jump. We find out that by awarding an individual the title of fastest or strongest, we collectively believe we are all faster and all stronger. We discover that we an athlete can be pushed to train beyond a perceived limit. As a species we believe we have limits to our physical and emotional capacity. This is true.
But the Olympics show us that our limits are not where we thought. We are capable of more wonderful accomplishments than we thought possible. We marvel at the level of dedication, commitment and passion.
Interesting that we award Gold for first place. Olypians are imagined to be “god-like”, strongest, fastest, smartest, the best our species has to offer. Gold comes from space. Gold is the result of exploded stars which have reached to end of their life cycle. So we take the rarest of cosmic elements and put it over the hearts of our god-like humans. That sounds about right to me.
I can’t wait for the Games to start.