Do you ever watch the Olympics with your whole body? I was a swimmer when I was a kid. I started when I was 8, I think. I just remember being small and cold and not liking it until I got bigger and fast. My parents sent me to a school in Florida so I could train with a coach name Bob Miller. He was the women’s Olympics coach in the 1970’s. I worked out twice a day, five days a week. It was brutal . . . and beautiful.
When I watch the swimmers now, my 57-year-old body can almost feel the strokes as they move. I find myself anticipating the flipturn, wondering if they should take another stroke or glide into the finish, feeling the anticipation when the official says, “Take your mark.”
Is there a sport like that for you? Do you feel basketball in your bones because you played in high school or for fun? Or maybe you feel it when you watch the track competition. The Olympics can be so inspiring, so energizing, it can get us off the couch and back in our running shoes. “So I’ll have to walk a little. So what. It will feel good to get a good sweat going.” Does that sound familiar?
Every time I see athletes hug each other, especially rivals after a finish, I get choked up. My father used to cry watching sporting events. He would be so moved by the spirit of the competitors. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the Olympics with him. He would shout and throw his arms up in the air with tears running down his face. “Yes! Yes!” That man lived with such vigor and appreciated the love and devotion of athletes to their sport. As do I.
I only have a few days left to drink in these Olympic games. They have given us so many moments to cherish, so many learning moments, moments of glory and humility and humanity. I am so grateful that this terrible virus that has robbed the world of so much didn’t take this ritual of peace on earth from us.
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