I think there’s something wrong with me.
Last Friday, we watched the opening ceremony for the Olympics. I thought it was excellent, very well pitched and overall, a great reflection on lots of the good bits about Britain.
While I was watching it, I was, at some (many) moments tearing up. I could feel the lump in my throat, eyes starting to water! I had to tell myself to get a grip and pull myself together.
Saturday morning, while Jacob was catching up on the previous night’s ceremony via BBC iPlayer, I was getting all emotional again, at the same parts!
I’m not sure what or why, but that’s what happened and I’m sure that something in me is broken, I’ve gone all soft.
Worse still, every time I’ve been watching events or listening on the radio and Team GB athletes have been winning medals, the same thing has been happening!!! I can’t work out whether they are tears of joy or just being an emotional wreck who needs a bit more sleep.
Anyway, now I’ve given myself a good talking too, it won’t happen again and I thought I should post something improving.
I have been seriously impressed not just with the opening of the games but also with the dedication and commitment of the athletes. Obviously, particularly Team GB, who I find myself inexplicably getting all tribal and patriotic about, and tears aside, it is obvious from the reactions of the athletes how much effort they have put in to get where they are and how much winning a medal (or missing out on a medal) means to them.
Cruel events like the Silver medal being snatched from the grasp of the GB gymnastics team on a technical appeal, the slightly harsh (IMHO) disqualification of Varnish / Pendleton in the women’s track cycling sprint event, the millisecond difference between Gold, Silver & Bronze in the Rowing Men’s 8 final all go to emphasise the emotional as well as physical investment that the athletes have put into their disciplines.
This brings into even starker light the shameful actions of the badminton pairs that were disqualified for not trying hard enough so they could get an easier next round. When the honour of all the athletes, coaches & officials has been promised at their pledges in the opening ceremony, it’s a great shame that this sort of thing happens against the contrast of the endeavour that the rest of the competitors are putting in.
This leaves me with a sort of uneasy paradox. The olympic adage coined by Pierre de Coubertin: “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part, for the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well” Is true and important and the integrity of all the people involved is at stake.
Winning is important, don’t tell me winning isn’t important, all you have to do is look at the faces of the athletes that do win and the ones that miss out to see how important winning is. Winning fairly within the rules is priceless.
At the risk of sounding cliched and being accused of jumping on the olympic band-waggon, it’s possible for everyone to win, no, not at the olympics but in something more important and more lasting.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:24+25
The journey is as important as the destination, living well, finishing well is very important, but the prize is also important, the aim, the goal, the destination is crucial. If we aren’t aiming at the right things, what hope have we got.
Likewise, if all we are doing is aiming at the goal and using nefarious ways to achieve the prize, we have also missed the focus. The two have to go hand in hand, so that we can eventually speak with Paul
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7+8
Let this olympic season not just inspire the next generation of athletes but the next generation of God-fearing disciples who are willing to live like Jesus as they walk on into eternity, experiencing a life inspired by resurrection, affirming “this life and the next as a seamless reality
and saved by God.”*
(*quotes are Rob Bell’s words)