Thursday, July 3, 2008
My Olympic Moment
I’ve always been crazy about the Olympics. There is something about the games that have always captivated me, even at a young age. When I was a kid, I used to make my parents watch me dive into the pool (over and over), and then I’d make them give me a score, just like in the Olympics (“9.6!” “9.2!”). It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the scores were very arbitrary, since all of my dives probably looked exactly the same – a little clumsy. Then as a teenager I was determined that my best friend (also a teenager) and I would be going to the summer games - solo. Little did I know that my mom wouldn’t let me drive out of our small town, let alone take a long jaunt to see the Olympic games. But that didn’t stop me from saving a few dollars in a white envelope that I cleverly labeled as “Olympic Money.” Later, when I was in college, I happened to be walking through the student center one night, when I saw a sign advertising a talk given by an Olympic-medal winner. I glanced at my watch, and I happened to be there just in time for it to start. I took my seat among a crowd of other students, and I listened to this Olympic swimmer talk about his experiences in the Olympics and in life. He talked a lot about his faith and how it motivated him to do all that he accomplished. I was already feeling inspired. Then, he did something so unexpected and amazing that I thought I might self-destruct from excitement. He passed around his medals for each person to see and touch! First came the gold. I treasured my few seconds in holding it. It was heavier than I thought, and I know I must have broken out in a ridiculously large grin. Next came the silver medal. By this time, I had seen other people putting the medals on, and I figured I’d do the same. So, for a few brief seconds in my life, a real Olympic silver medal hung around my neck. I hadn’t earned the right to wear it, but I still felt incredibly grateful for the chance. I know many Olympians keep their medals in glass cases to preserve them. But I thought it said a lot about this athlete that he wanted to share them with the rest of us, and it made for a moment that I’ll never forget. My love affair with the Olympics continues. Just this weekend Husband and I watched some of the Olympic trials, and we saw three Americans break world records. (I might have had to wipe away a few small tears at those moments.) I told Husband that one day we’d go see Olympic games in person. I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear what he said at first (“Don’t you think you’d see them better on TV?”) and remember what he said the second time (“Ok, we’ll go sometime.”) Thankfully, he’s not as strict as my mom was, and we probably won’t keep a white envelope for saving the money. But the same excitement about the Olympics is still there.