(originally published at The Christian Post)
If you are a sports junkie like I am, this is one of the greatest times of the year.
For the next month my family will all be fully immersed in the quadrennial ritual known as the Winter Olympics. I absolutely love it, and it is a firm rule in my house that if the TV is on, we are watching Olympic events of some kind. It is one of the few times of the year that the kids are actually expected to watch too much TV, and are not allowed to go to bed before 11:00. I have anxiously looked forward to every Olympic year since I was a kid, and I know many of us have that same story. But what is it about the Olympics that draws us in?
First off, I just love the stories behind the games. Watching athletes do things that I personally could never dream of doing is fantastic enough. But there is so much more to it than just that. We know that as we watch athletes from countries we don’t usually think about, we will get a little bit of their back story.
We will learn about the odds that they overcame to excel in their sport, make the trip to South Korea, and represent their nation as Olympians. At some point in this year’s Winter Olympics there is certain to be a Cool Runnings moment or a USA hockey Miracle moment, and it is those moments that make it worth paying attention to. When we watch the Olympic games we are not just watching a bunch of people do cool things, we are observing the human spirit on full display.
More importantly, the Olympics are a history that unites us. The whole world is watching, and what happens today won’t happen again. The athletes that are at the games now may or may not be back in four years.
For these few short weeks, the world is watching athletes from homelands great and small who have earned the right to proudly represent their nation.
For these few short weeks, bitter rivals are gracious in victory and in defeat; they share a mutual respect because they know what it takes to be there. They know what it takes to be Olympians.
For these few short weeks we will hear words like Effort, Integrity, Determination, Sportsmanship, Character, and Perseverance more often than usual, and that is a good thing. The way I see it, we can all learn something from that.
The motto of the Olympics is, “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. In some ways, this is a motto we can apply not just to sports, but to all that we do. I personally strive to be faster to forgive. I seek to trust in the God who is Higher than I, and I seek to be Stronger in so many different ways.
So I am excited for what the 2018 Olympics will hold for us, and I am excited that it is something, one of the very few things these days, that we can all share in and enjoy together. For a few days we can set aside politics and Twitter rage, and just take in the excitement and beauty of the Olympic Games.