Monday, February 20, 2006

Chance at Gold

I love the Olympics. For the past week and a half, team U.S.A. has been a prominent fixture in my living room. A pantheon of events whose details I’m only vaguely aware of--curling, ice dancing, snowboard cross, and super g. For this week only, I’m their number 1 fan.

There’s something a little funny about the Olympics. Take figure skating for instance. Every four years, we all tune in to watch skinny little men in sequined bodysuits take turns flinging themselves in time to classical music. We don’t really know the rules behind what they’re doing. We don’t have the foggiest idea how they’re doing it. And, if we’re honest, we don’t even necessarily have any interest in figuring it all out. As my cousin asked during a recent family dinner, “would you rather be a world class men’s figure skater…or, just have a really solid jump shot?” The table unanimously voted for the jump shot.

All of that said, you can’t deny that there’s something uniquely compelling about the Olympics. For me, it all boils down to the simplicity of it all. There are so few things in life that have such simplicity of purpose. Hundreds of athletes from across the globe, all focused on achieving ultimate perfection. Whether it’s the perfect run down the ski slope, the perfect spin on the ice, or even the perfect whatever the hell it is that curlers do--they’re all in pursuit of the same goal. They all want to achieve perfection in this one moment.

Four years of trying to explain to your friends what curling is. Four years of falling on your ass with no audience but yourself. Four years that all boils down to this one moment. This one moment where we’ll collectively hold our breath, as hundreds of athletes from across the world, go for the gold.

Ms. J

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