So, tomorrow’s the big day.
The opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
How great is that? Pretty great, if you ask me. But of course, you didn’t. But I’ll say it again, anyway. Pretty great!
I love the Olympics. I’m a fan of sports during the year, yes, but the Olympics takes competition to a new level. No matter what’s going on in the world, athletes (mostly) put their differences aside and meet on the field. Or in the pool. Or on the court. Yes, the sports-as-peaceful-battle is a cliche, but there’s a reason it comes up over and over. I think that, deep down, no matter how bellicose a person is, there is something stirring about seeing people from different countries competing in sport. They don’t have to speak the same language or hold the same political views. They just have to be faster, quicker, truer…they just have to be a little better for one moment.
But there’s another reason we at Nobody’s View are looking forward to the London 2012 Olympics. Say it with me, Nobody Nation: Regular folks living the Olympic dream.
I know there’s a commercial aspect to the Olympics, and I know people can probably get rich off endorsements. But don’t go into the Olympics only looking forward to seeing the big names in action. Don’t think only about the stars. Think about the person who’s trained their whole lives to compete…even though they probably have little chance of winning. I don’t really get sappy about the Olympics, tuning in only to see the best. I’m intrigued by the guy at the back of the pack in the marathon–the guy who trains alone, for hours, for years…and finishes last on the biggest stage.
Why does that intrigue me? Simple. This runner runs for passion. Finishing first or last? Doesn’t matter. Passion. Is there disappointment? Probably. But passion is always present. It’s what gets a person to run themselves drunk. To collapse. To stumble after the tape and fall flat, even finishing dead last.
Yeah, the camera follows the first place person. Yeah, we see 1, 2, and 3 on the podium. But somewhere in the Olympic village is a runner taking off his or her shoes in silence, laying back in bed, staring at the ceiling, and re-living the race in their minds. Knowing at the start they may not be the fastest, but knowing at the end they finished the race of their lives.
And passion for Nobody Nation is so much the same way. I know there are those of you out there who paint, sing, play guitar, write…you do what you love because you love to do it. You go to museums and see the history, you head to concerts and hear the famous, you wander the bookstores and read the best-sellers. Then, you go home, dabble on your canvases, pluck the strings, and write a chapter.
Even if nobody will see, hear, or read.
But you will.
And that is enough.
Yeah, I know you’ve heard it all before. I know that for some of you, these kinds of pep-talks-of-passion are cold comfort if your goal is to be rich and famous while doing what you love.
But look, we’re all in this together. We all have a secret dream. We all have something we long to do. And we can’t all be number one.
Think of it this way: you are in better company in the middle of the pack, surrounded by millions of your closest friends! It’s lonely in first, anyway.
That’s why I want you to watch the Olympics. Oh, sure…you’ll get caught up in drama of the biggest and the strongest. But I’m going to ask you–please don’t forget the person who comes in last.
After all, they have dreams too. Dreams that will last longer than a few minutes of glory in a distant city called London.