The other day I saw a posting on Facebook that made me more than angry, as well as disappointed. And a bit sad.
The post was referring to this year’s Olympics as the “genocide games”. No, I’m not kidding. And it was, of course, a call to boycott the games. Don’t watch them. Don’t buy from the sponsors. Which also means don’t support the athletes.
Now before you start with the political rhetoric and going with the “right on, let’s do it!” statements, let’s examine this a bit further. Do you really think having a few people, ok, maybe a few thousand people, not watching the Olympics which is being viewed around the world by millions and millions of households, is going to make a difference? Do you think that depriving yourself of watching a magnificent sports event that is only held every four years is going to make a difference in how the host country is treating their people? Do you think by watching the games you’re making a difference? I think not. But you can feel how you feel and I can feel how I feel.
And I do not agree with you at all, just like you won’t agree with me if you are of that mindset.
The opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics was one of the best I’ve seen. I am a huge fan of the Winter Olympics and am so looking forward to watching these amazing athletes compete in sports they have trained for for so many years, many for almost all of their lives. I can’t begin to imagine how they feel to be an Olympian, especially those who are there for the very first time; or the ones who are the only ones representing their country. Watching the faces of the athletes as they entered the stadium gave me the same feeling of hope and expectancy. And I was proud of each and every one of them, and especially TeamUSA. No, not everyone can win, especially the gold, but in all honesty, they’re all winners because they’ve already realized part of a lifelong dream.
How many of us can say that?
I can’t wait to see them compete. I enjoy the ice skating and the skiing and the snowboarding. Yes, and the luge, and certainly the hockey. I cringe when someone gets hurt, and find myself close to crying when someone wins their first ever Olympic medal. Because these are the best of the best athletes, AND they are not being paid to do their sport, except for whatever endorsements they may be lucky enough to have. They do it because they love it, and they’re good at it. I look forward to hearing their individual stories. Hearing from their families. There is just so much to enjoy and celebrate with each and every one of these athletes. And when the games are over, I feel I almost know some of these people.
Please, don’t make these Olympic Games into a political statement. There’s a time and place for that, and this is not the time. I do not agree with our country not sending diplomatic representation to the games. If you want to make a difference write or e-mail your congressman or senator and see what opportunities are out there in which perhaps you can help. And regardless of how we feel about the human rights violations in China, let’s put that aside for these next two weeks and celebrate the participants in their victories, and feel their disappointment that they didn’t win. They have worked hard; they made it there and they deserve our respect. As I said before they are Olympians, win or lose!
These athletes are to be not only respected, but admired, and cheered on as they compete in areas you and I couldn’t even begin to do. Their families and friends must be feeling a sense of pride in them beyond what we can even imagine.
So let’s go TeamUSA! You’re following your dreams and I know you’re all going to make us proud!!