By Mark A. Leon
Often in the course of life we are brought together due to a single event in tragedy or celebration. Sometimes it is one pivotal moment that unifies the world for a point in time. These events remain in our memory bank for generations to come. The significance of these events may not be felt to its full impact right away, but over time they take on a whole new meaning that is personalized and manifested into some life changing path.
Every four years (now every two with the Winter and Summer Games separated) the world unites with the best athletes in the world representing the flag, culture, history, and beliefs of their motherland. Regardless of sport or finish, they stand in the forefront of an entire nation whether it is 3 million or 1 billion citizens. It is a burden that many spend their entire lives preparing for. The thought of spending most of your upright life practicing for a chance to show the world in just a few minutes or seconds that you are the best this planet has to offer is amazing. This is an overwhelming thought to have running through your head.
Nerves racing, expectations from all directions.
The Olympics are about dedication, passion, unification, music, pain, the stories, the lives and so much more.
What I can say is this, the Olympics are important to this planet for several reasons:
1. For three weeks every two years, we have a reason to believe. No matter what our economic conditions are, war, terrorism, poverty, fear or illness, we are glued to our smartphones, tablets and televisions to witness history.
2. It is motivational bliss. Millions of children and adults will pick up a racket again, get in the pool, play basketball or try a new sport and remind themselves of the importance of sport and fitness
3. Family – The Olympics brings family closer together sharing in the happiness and sadness of our fellow countryman and countrywomen.
4. Emotional roller coaster – We all have our own personal emotional ride we take on each and every day. For a few moments, we can put that aside and put our energies into becoming a fan of the world.
5. Peace – Does all global conflict stop during the Olympics? Of course not, but I like to think we try a little harder to fathom the idea of a world living together in harmony.
6. Memories – Whether you are a participant, coach, volunteer, host city or fan at the local pub, we will all take memories away from these games.
In the end, we will see who won the medal count, but we will have a lot of stories to share and memories made. I don’t now how many times I have been asked “what is the point of sports?” and the answer is simple…Everything!
Sports are about teamwork, competition, victory, defeat, growth, endurance, strength, intelligence, drive, passion, inspiration, desire, motivation and honor. They stand for all the qualities we can ever dream of having. To feel a little more; to work a little harder; to taste the blood of victory; to agonize in a moment of defeat is something you can’t effectively put into words.
If you ever meet an athlete, look deep into their eyes and you will know.
Enjoy some of the great moments from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.