The 2012 Summer Olympics are about to start and I for one can’t wait. I will spend the next two weeks glued to the action from the time I get home until I leave my house in the morning. I will voluntarily deprive myself of sleep (which normally starts for me at 9:00 pm) just so I can catch all of the action and the commentary. I love the Olympics, the drama, the competition and especially the stories about the athletes. I always find them inspirational.
As my family and friends will tell you, I am a jock wanna-be. In me lives a person who wants to run a marathon, to beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon, or fly through the air on the uneven parallel bars. However, it’s not about winning a medal that holds the appeal. In fact, I don’t care for all of the tallying of the medal count and which country collects the most gold, etc., that we will continuously hear about. What I find most interesting and inspiring is the stories of athletes’ individual struggle, perseverance, focus and sacrifice they had to endure to get to the Olympics. They make me want to be a better person, set goals, persevere and achieve.
There is familiarity in the human experience of struggle, perseverance and sacrifice. We have all felt it. Some feel it on a daily basis. The elderly wife caring for her ailing husband who no longer remembers reality. The middle-aged son who is trying to look after his aging parents and provide for his college-bound kids. The young couple whose newborn was just diagnosed with some rare condition whose name they can barely pronounce.
I feel the same connection to these people, who I meet and get to know, that I do to the Olympic athletes, who I will most likely never meet or know. They bring up many feelings – admiration, inspiration and sometimes pain for what I imagine they are going through. Just like the Olympic athletes, they make me want to be a better person. Make a positive difference in their life, or figure out a solution to the problem they brought to me.
So for the next two weeks as I walk around bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, please bear with me. I am being inspired.