Olympics

I decided to do the next 2 weeks on the Olympics because I think we can learn more from the events instead of just who wins or loses. Of course, we have all heard the stories about how each athlete came from humble beginnings and ended up on the world’s greatest stage, so I won’t copy those articles on this blog. Instead I want to use those stories to let us focus on the big picture.

On the basketball rim in the Olympics, you see the words “Inspire a generation.” I believe that Olympians do that for us in a time where inspiration is more important than ever. If Olympians do nothing else, I hope that they inspire a work ethic in our future and current generations. Olympians train day after day and sacrifice their social lives for one thing, the chance to win Gold. For example, most gymnasts are between 16 and 18 years old. How many teenagers do you know with that much desire to achieve anything? Imagine how great the world would be if we all tried so hard in our lives.

Sticking with gymnastics, I have been very pleased with the chemistry of the gymnastics teams. I admit, I am often confused with how a group of people competing in a sport for individuals can truly be a “team,” but I really believe that the USA Gymnastics teams are true “teams.” To my surprise, I saw more chemistry among those individuals than I often see in team sports such as football.

Looking at American football, 11 guys work together to move the ball forward against the opponent and, when it works, it’s really a beautiful example of teamwork. However, when it doesn’t work, team members blame their teammates. Perhaps the linemen could have blocked better, the quarterback threw the ball too high, a receiver didn’t run the right route, or a running back didn’t wait for the hole to open. We hear the same excuses all the time when the bottom line is that the team did not achieve their goal.

I would expect the same from the gymnastics team because it’s more obvious. It’s a little easier to spot a mistake in gymnastics than a lineman missing a block in football because all eyes are on that one gymnast. Funny how you never hear, “We would have won gold if she didn’t screw up on vault,” but every Sunday a pro football player tweets about the work ethic of his team.

Of course, the USA won gold in Women’s Gymnastics this week, but other teams shared moments of joy and sadness as well. They never blamed anyone. Actually, you always saw the teams comforting the person that just hurt their medal chances instead of showing their disappointment.

I think we can learn a lot from the gymnastic teams in our own lives. Goals are the most rewarding when we work hard to achieve them, not when they are handed to us. On the other hand, if we fail, we should first look in the mirror and think about what we could have done better before we start blaming others.

Life is not like the NFL where we can just be traded to a different team or find coaches that will “use us properly.” Life is like the Olympics in that we only have one chance to be “golden.” We must learn to make the most of our opportunities and give our best effort in everything we do.

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