Sports can be the great bridge.
As the 2018 Winter Olympics opens, the LovePrints motto “Loving and Learning through sports” comes to mind. Sports has always been a bridge for the rest of society. It allows for opponents to get to know one another, share similarities, and grow together after competition. They get to go outside of their comfort zones, meet a diverse group of people, learn about different cultures, and become more socially aware of people from other places. Sports has always had that power. The power to connect.
Sports is a bridge, a teacher, a healer, and a leader. It connects people who normally rival one another. It uncovers the common bond of preparation, ambition, and desire. Of all of the things that athletes respect, it is the work required to excel. It is the knowledge that their rival has done as much as they have, or more. They know what their rivals have sacrificed, and they know what they gave up to have success.
Sports brings to light the simple idea that aside from all other things, it can be fair. It can be the thing that helps us talk more and hate less. It can be the reason we work, the reason we excel, and the reason we improve. Sports can also be the light. It shines on the good and bad, the happy and sad, the great and the greatest. It can be the mirror to society, and the way to pull us all together.
The Olympic motto is the hendriatis “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” Faster, Stronger, Higher. It calls for us to understand that the most important thing is not to win, but to participate. Some speak ill of participation as a goal. Participation is the line of steps required to win or lose. I am a fan of participation. It requires one more step forward into greater that others may not take. From there, faster, stronger, and higher can be constant fuel for us all.
The Olympic spirit and its five rings symbolizes the five continents and all its people. It holds its six colors of inclusion, considering each of the flags of all countries, and the populations that play under and for them. It crosses borders, boundaries, and stereotypes. It allows the simple concept that the best athlete on that day, at that moment, is celebrated. It allows that we all see the best in them, and ourselves. They become the standard. They become what we aspire to, dream of, and applaud.
As I watched rival countries sit near one another, and fiercely competitive athletes eye those athletes who stand in the way of their own individual moments of greatness, it becomes clear that sports has pulled opposites together. Sports got them to the games. And hopefully, the games will provide a bridge for familiarity and consideration. If we can sit together, maybe we can talk to one another. If we can play together, we share something worth talking about.
Here’s to the 2018 Winter Olympics. May it show us our best reflection. May the games bring us closer together, like the Miracle on Ice. May the strangers become friends. May the lessons of humanity be taught and learned, while we gain the ability to care about the people playing the game.
At the open of the ceremony, the broadcast led with this quote. “..always start with dreams, the best stories always begin there.” Sports is the bridge from dream to reality. It connects them. It waits patiently for the crossing. Loving and learning. Thank you, sports.