How big a deal are the Olympics? Big. Big, big. Big, big, big. Big deal. The Olympics are a really big deal. Under the best of civil circumstances, it’s no small feat to pull them off, and Brazil has had her fair share of challenges. Yet and still Brazil is getting these Olympics off the ground. That’s why I’m pulling for this impoverished and embattled nation and praying for them to win and win big.
Many countries coming together under the banner of peace and harmony and goodwill is a genuinely good thing. A manifold diversity of nationalities and ethnicities and cultures and customs gathering together at all is not a bad thing. So here’s to a safe, sensational, marvelous and memorable fortnight of games.
Harmony is of God. Peace and accord and unity and agreement under the banner of sports and sportsmanship can’t be bad; in fact it’s a very good thing. And so even if “religion” or faith is not a central theme or principal premise of the games, they are part and parcel of the Olympic spirit.
Amidst and amongst the multiple countries and the myriad of contestants, each and every athlete has the chance and the challenge of becoming a champion and winning gold. And winning, as we all know, is spiritual. Yes participating is an honor, but “you play to win the game. Hello!” Right? (Thanks Herman Edwards).
Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post wrote a poignant article about the games being in Rio. Here’s a sampling of what she said:
The Games have stressed a city already under stress; you can see that in the stoic faces waiting for the groaning city buses that aren’t permitted in the dedicated lanes and the angry protests that followed the torch. But by the eve of the Opening Ceremonies, it also was plain what a grand if teetering metropolis this is, with its eras stacked one top of another: imperial, colonial, belle epoque and modern.
This fact gives the Rio Games an atmosphere unlike any before: there is a mixed undercurrent here, a skeptical pride, a political roil and above all a juxtaposition of gorgeousness and want, existing side by side. These are an especially striated, bifurcated Olympics.
But I agree with this line from Sally; “Bringing the Olympics here was not a mistake despite the unfinished buildings and exposed pipes and sewer water.” Every athlete has a right to have a chance, and so do countries and nations. And this is Brazil’s chance.
This is the first Olympics in South America, the second poorest continent on the globe, behind Africa. And it is Biblical and spiritual that the poor and the lowly and the modest and the common man amongst us deserves to be raised up and built up and brought up to where they belong.
And this is the spiritual side of the Olympics.