Do You Want to Be in the Olympics?

I always wanted to be a bobsledder. What Olympic event did you want to do?

Figure skating? Downhill skiing? Speed skating? Ski jumping?

Now, luge, that I never wanted to do! Why lay on my back and go down a hill feet first?

At my age, I doubt I will ever ride a bobsled in the Olympics, or anywhere for that matter, but I’d like to think I could still be an Olympian.

I do cringe a bit over the politicization and crass commercialism of the games. Unfortunately, they also stopped being truly amateur events decades ago.

Still, there is something deeply moving about watching athletes from around the globe gathered together competing.

Whenever I watch the Olympic Games I feel the world is just a bit smaller and friendlier.

It is clear from the beginning that many of the athletes have absolutely no chance of winning a medal and it may be from those athletes that we have the most to learn.

Few of us have ever had any specific talent that would allow us to claim to be the best in the world at anything. Yet, that is not the greatest goal in life anyway.

None of us stop what we do because we cannot be the best in the world.

The key originator of the modern Olympic games, Pierre de Coubertin, said early on about the games, “The most important thing is not to win, but to take part.”

That is simply good life advice.

The better known Olympic motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” encourages each of us to do a little better in everything we do each day. It doesn’t mean that any one of us has to be relentless in beating everyone around us at everything.

Instead, the Olympic ideal encourages each of us to stay in the game and to keep working on improving what we do and how we live our lives.

There are many ways we can live out the Olympic ideal and be “Olympians” even if we are not world class athletes. The best Olympic stories focus on people.

The Olympics often emphasize the way athletes represent “the global village.” Athletes from all over the world gather together to compete and make relationships that last a life time.

The most “Olympic” thing anyone of us might do is focus upon building relationships with people who are different from us.

This is a good moment in our lives to change the way we set ourselves apart from people of different racial, social, economic, or religious backgrounds.

If you ever wanted to be an “Olympian” then now is your opportunity.

Intentionally seek out someone different from yourself.

Set down for coffee or a meal.

Get to know each other.

Be an Olympian and make the world a smaller and friendlier place.