As I sit here tonight and write this, I am watching the opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Summer or winter, I normally try to catch the opening ceremony, and if I have time to watch TV I will also try to catch some of the sporting events. I do suspect that part of why I am such an Olympics junkie is because the first Olympics that I remember was the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. I was 9 years old. I loved that it seemed to be all people were talking about then and all that was on TV. I even remember watching Mary Lou Retton’s gold medal live. I did not know how monumental that was until later in life, but I caught it live. Aside from the sentimental memories that I have attached to it, I am also a sucker for the Olympics for other reasons.
I love what the Olympics tries to be, which is the world’s greatest athletes coming together every four years, living together, playing together, and learning about cultures different than their own. Those of you who know me know that I don’t think all cultures are created equal. I love America and some would say that I bleed red, white, and blue.
I still very much want to live in a world where countries have a mutual respect for one another. So, I think the multinational effort that we put into the Olympics is time well spent. I am convinced it is good for all of us to know that the countries around the world are filled with people with faces and names. It is also good for the people of the world to see a platform with people from around the world, maybe even our "enemies” playing together.
This year in the winter Olympics, the North and South Korean Teams are on the same team in hockey. Now, there may be areas in life where such mutual respect from these two countries can’t happen, yet somehow, they joined together to play hockey, which brings me to another reason why I love the Olympics. With all of their political differences, religious differences, and even hatred towards one another, somehow they still came together and performed for the Olympics. That’s just amazing to me.
I know it has not been without its scandals or problems, and I also know that it has failed to live up to its own values at times. I also know that it will take more than the Olympics to bring about world peace and mutual respect between all countries. I suspect there will be some type of tension between countries as long as there is tension between people. I do hope and pray that one day, as individuals and countries, we can all live out the words of Jesus when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”