Climbing to the Top

Four years have passed, and here we are. Time for the Summer Olympics once again. I noticed something as I was watching Michael Phelps win his 7th Olympic Gold Medal: I don’t care that much. 

I can sense the pressure, the honor that it brings to the motherland, and the amazing amount of time and effort that the athletes have put into the games. However, once I begin to drift into these kinds of thoughts, my mind suddenly snaps out of it and says they are just sports. And it is true! When all is said and done, the crying and humiliation, glory and …more crying, are all in the name of athletics. 

This is nothing new. People have been placing great importance upon sporting events for a very long time. I have never been able to “catch the fever” myself. The closest that I have ever come is during the final moments of an NBA playoff game, as they tend to be pretty intense. Though any time that I have felt these feelings, I have felt it for the athletes alone. I can picture the losers going home that night and explaining to their friends and loved ones what they felt was the reason for their failure, and the other teams success. So it confuses me as to why much of the world takes part in the rejoicing in victory, along with their country’s athletes. They didn’t do anything. They weren’t the ones waking early in the morning to train, having no time for personal fun among schooling and their chosen sport.

Of course they enjoy it because in all likelihood, they have never done anything very noteworthy in the public eye, and like to feel like they are part of the excitement. 

Why do the athletes themselves do it? By the time they are taking part of the event, are they truly doing it “for the love of the game”? I heard one announcer say, that one of the Chinese gymnasts, is quitting after the Olympics are over, as he is just in it for the medal, and will not have a chance to compete at the next Olympics in 4 years.  If something is your job, even if you love it, it begins to take on a certain amount of drudgery to complete it. 

I have been thinking a lot about why people do things lately. I have been reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. It is about a expedition to the top of Mt. Everest in 1996 that went very badly. He recounts how he and 29 others made a summit attempt and got caught in a fierce storm with hurricane speed winds, in 100 degree below zero temperatures. There were many fatalities, and even more lives changed. Now, anyone you ask could tell you that there is an inherent risk to climbing the highest mountain on earth. So why did these people climb, knowing that they may never leave the mountain? 

I suppose the answer to many of these questions is the feeling you get from accomplishing something. These moments can come at differing degrees of intensity. In fact, I got it today as I finished putting together the new desk for my office (It was hard, alright!). I can only imagine the feeling you would get knowing that you are the best in the world at something. After thinking this for a moment though, I realize once again that it is just a stupid sport.

In conclusion, I believe that in order to truly enjoy the Olympics in 2012, I will need to be competing in them. Otherwise, I believe I will get a more genuine feeling of accomplishment by putting together more desks

…unless that is an Olympic event by then.


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Filed under Books, Rant

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