Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fourteen Days ...

It's hard to believe that the Olympics ran for a mere two weeks.  In that time, it seemed to be all anyone could talk about.  Even politics took a backseat to what was happening in London.  In the middle of a Presidential Campaign, that says a lot.  For fourteen days, the world fought it's battles on the track, field, in the pool, arena (and BMX track!).  We cheered together, cried together, felt each others disappointment and shared in each others pride.  For fourteen days, we managed to get on with each other (for the most part) and for a few of us, we were finally able to see past some of our differences and find common ground. 

 Due to technical issues beyond my control, I wasn't able to see all of the closing ceremony.  By the way, I hear it was great fun if my Facebook feed was anything to go by.  The only part of it I did see, was Rio's "taster" for the next games and the extinguishing of the Olympic flame.  Or as the case seem to be, the passing on of the flame to the next host country.    I am not ashamed to admit that I  cried when I saw that wonderful "torch" being lowered into all its separate parts again and one by one watching the flames being extinguished. Almost like a Dandelion being blown apart by a gentle breeze on a lovely summer's day.  For fourteen days we had come together, each bringing our own little lights.  On their own, they look puny and uninteresting, but when they were joined with others and raised, how brightly the light shone.  Maybe the reason for my sadness is the realization that we only had those fourteen days to feel like we were all one.  In that brief time, despite what was going on in our home countries (and there were some horrific and troubling things going on for some of us) we chose the higher road.   We chose hope and optimism.  We chose to compete honestly.  I wonder just how different the world would be if instead of deploying armies to settle our disputes, we sent athletes.  If our land issues and party issues could be decided by synchronized diving or the 400m hurdles.  Yes, I'm being way too naive, and yes, I am over simplifying world issues,  but sometimes it's nice to dream.  Judging by how many people in the world watched the Games, I suspect it's a dream that not only I carry.  It seems that for the most of us, there is a longing for a unity amongst nations.  Not conformity, but a respect for our diversities, a celebration of our differences and a recognition of the things that we all have in common.  For fourteen days, the best of who we can be and who, I suspect, we wish we could be, was tangible.  It permeated not just London and Great Britain, but every single country that participated.

Thanks for having us, London.  You did a "smashing" job.  We hope the clean up after the wild party isn't too bad and that traffic will settle down from totally outrageous, to just impossible.  Hopefully the prices of pints and pies will be coming to within "normal" range as well.  I feel it's important to also thank you all for sharing your "locals" with us.  And may I apologize if we didn't always show the necessary respect that those hallowed places of communion have in your communities.  It was "Brilliant"!

Now it's the crash after the high.  The hangover after the binge.  My "hangover" was marked by "Stars earn their Stripes".  Seriously?  After watching amazing people do amazing things we get this?  I think I'm better off watching "Duck Dynasty".  At least that has a comedic aspect to it.  You know, something to laugh about so that one might forget how sad one feels at not being able to watch diving anymore! 

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