There was an article on the Atlantic Wire that said, “Who doesn’t like the Olympics? Only jerks don’t like the Olympics.” Well then, that would be me.
I know, I know. Not liking the Olympics is just wrong. I am supposed to be totally into cheering on our country, watching the best of the best compete, drooling over Ryan Lochte. I get that. But, truth be told, I’m just not that into it. And I didn’t fully realize why, until I saw this new video from Nike.
You see, to me, I’d much rather be participating in a sport than watching it. Maybe it’s my Type-A personality or my inner competitiveness or my ongoing need to move, but sitting on the couch watching others compete is just not fun.
It’s not that I’m not happy for these athletes; I am. And it’s not that I don’t support their hard work; I do. It’s just that, I find it strangely boring to watch all of these sports (many of which I don’t get) and watch all of these athletes (most of whom I don’t know). I don’t like wrestling or archery or shooting, so why would I want to watch other people doing that?
I also get irked listening to all the negative commentary and “constructive” criticism of the commentator (you tell ‘em, Hope Solo!). It’s like, half the time they are struggling with something, anything, to say and it just comes out sounding dumb.
Maybe a lot of others agree with me and that is why Olympic organizers are now having to give out free tickets to fill vacant rows at the Games.
Instead of the Olympics (and all the wasted money and air-time that goes along with it), I prefer to be inspired by everyday athletes–not necessarily the elite ones. I find it annoying in most marathons or triathlons that are televised that 95% of the focus is on the front-runners. Good for them, but how about the thousands of people who are behind them who have also trained hard? What about those who work around their job, school and their family in order to train and participate? What about the folks who, against all odds, have battled breast cancer or leukemia or the loss of a leg, and yet, they are out there, mile after mile? Those are the people I am most interested in watching and cheering on. To me, the last finisher of a marathon is more impressive than the first-place guy.
I believe everyone is an athlete. Every body, every age, every ability, every size, every background. To me, celebrating and cheering on just a select few seems like we are ignoring the accomplishments of everyone else. Somehow it sends a message that only the best deserve the attention. And that is something that can ultimately deter others from considering themselves good enough to hit the gym or hit the streets.
But, in fact, every athlete deserves applause. Because we all know how difficult it can be to work around our everyday lives and still fit in time and energy for our bodies, our health and our goals.
This new video from Nike pretty much sums up the way I feel, because we ALL have greatness in us. So here’s to the Olympic athletes–and every other athlete out there!