Why 16 Days of Glory?

            I watch the Olympics. I love watching the Olympics. I will watch events during the Olympics that I will not watch any other time. Some people will look at me and go “Why? Why does the Olympics matter so much to you?” Well…I think I will take a crack at trying to answer that. Because, I think, looking at why I do something might make people think a bit more on why they do it. And, I have a lot of reasons to watch the Olympics.

          First is that I am proud of my country. I may not always agree with the government, may not always agree with some of things people in our country say and do in the name of the country(whether they are official or not). But I am proud of my country. I love hearing the Star Spangled Banner at the Medal Ceremonies. However, I am also proud of watching Team USA lose but give the absolute best they could. There is nothing wrong in not medaling in the Olympics. If an event had 100 people competing in it, and only 1 American, and that American poured their all into their performance, but finished ranked 100, then, you know what? Yeah, sure, he or she finished dead last…but that was dead last against the BEST in the world. Just BEING in the Olympics is an honour.

         That leads to the second reason I watch the Olympics: The ideal and the fantasy of them. For 16 days, you can believe that all the rivalries of the world are put aside for the Olympic Truce. You want to believe that anyone competing in the Olympics is there just to compete for the glory of the sport. That they do not hold the rivalries and hatreds they might bring from outside. That a North Korean and a South Korean could be put next to each other, and they would not care where the other was from. I want to believe in that. For 16 days, I can live in this fantasy world, and know that many out there also believe the same. The hope that, with enough people believing this, the world can be changed.

           The third reason is a bit less ideal or philosophical. Frankly, and I will admit this, I like watching beautiful bodies in motion. Whether it be women’s figure skating or women’s volleyball. Be it Women Gymnastics, or women’s speed skating. It doesn’t matter to me. The female form in motion is captivating, and you will rarely see as solid a demonstration of the form as you will in the Olympics.

          I also love watching Good Sportsmanship in action, and a good competition. In the professional sports like Hockey and Basketball, and even professional Soccer, the games are played by completely different kinds of people then you will see in the Olympics. I have seen some of the best displays of Sportsmanship in these sports in the Olympics then I would ever expect to see in a professional game. I remember, as well, rooting for the Iraqi Soccer team after the fall of Hussein. Not because they were a great team. Not because I believed in anything political about them. No, it was because here was this team that had never gotten to practice together before the Olympics, and they were playing their hearts out. They were not making any complicated plays, and that simplicity was what served them so well. Then, there was the first time the Jamaican Bobsled team showed up. They were joked about, but they did their absolute best(and have since reached the point where they are taken as serious competitors). I ALWAYS root for the Jamaican Bobsled team. I remember watching the Gold Medal Match in Curling back in the controversial French winter games a few years ago. I remember when there was an accidental bump of the stone by one team, and the two team captains waved off the judge, and pulled out their own surveyors bob, and the two captains conferred, moved the stone back to where it should have been, shook hands, and went back to their match.  Show me sportsmanship and people playing their hearts out.

        Maybe I am just a bit of a weird person. But, I love the Olympics. Yes, I am proud of Team USA,and love seeing us win. However, it is not all about USA! USA! USA! for me. I love the Olympics, and always will. Now, pardon me, I need to get back to watching Germany vs Russia women’s hockey….Right now, it is going into the 3rd Period, and the game is German 1, Russian 0…

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