The Olympic Games are about to be declared open. The Games inspire the Olympic Spirit whereby men and women rigorously train, condition their bodies and brains to endure pain, sacrifice, and discipline to achieve success.
We admire them; they are examples of great courage and a strong human spirit and youth imitate them. We can only dream about reaching even a fraction of their healthy physical and mental strength and prowess. We cheer for them when they win, we cry with them when they lose; they embody our own hopes, desires, achievements and failings.
The Olympic Games and sports in general have, with a few exceptions, broken down racial barriers and have been a stage for the world to see that all men and women are deserving of equal rights, opportunity, recognition and they can, despite hardships achieve the greatest heights of mental and physical achievement.
The Games promote the fun and exciting spirit of competition of one against another to prove who is the strongest, fastest, greatest, and most skilled at their chosen sport.Their stressful striving is to win the prize, to stand on the podium and receive the medal, the applause and roar of adulation of the crowd and to shed a tear as winner or runner up. To win fairly is the goal. Fame and fortune follows the winner even if it is only a fraction of a split second that decides who gets the gold medal.
The games can be seen too as an inspiration to better moral living through self-discipline, self-respect, sacrifice for a spiritual goal and life of virtue and goodness. We are challenged to live and win the game of life.
Striving for goodness and virtue can and will, lead us to live a moral, spiritual, disciplined life caring and loving others. The gold and silver of the spiritual Olympics will be lasting friendship and unselfish love of the needy and the poor. St. Paul made the metaphor in his writings.
It’s so easy to love when we are loved and cherished for ourselves. But to put others above ourselves and have the strength and courage to live for others without seeking gold or silver is to be truly heroic. It is a goal worth living and striving for, that’s the greatest prize of all and we can reach it by doing our best. The Olympic Games can inspire us to consider the lofty spiritual dimensions of life and the reality of earthly ones too. (S.C.)