I am not a sports guy, and I never really have been. I played sports in school and my parents enrolled my brother and I in a number of sports as kids to keep us occupied and entertained, such as T-ball, soccer, karate, skiing and more. With the benefit of hindsight, I enjoyed them all to varying extents, but they all didn’t last very long.
In fact, I remember playing soccer as a child and not really caring about the positions or the score. As my parents have said on more than a few occasions, “Daniel was content to run after the ball with some sort of interest, but David was content just to look at the ants on the ground” – a fact that is still true to this day!
But if I was ever provided the opportunity to go to a hockey game with my dad, a baseball game with friends, or anything else of the sort, I would go and enjoy myself. But I never had the need to watch sports on TV, and glancing at the sports section of the newspaper every day to see who won was more than enough for me. Basically, I wasn’t emotionally invested in any particular team much beyond “hometown loyalty.”
But there is one time where I become passionate about sports and will watch as much as I can possibly get my hands on – during an Olympic year.
Every two years, I become a sports watching machine and gobble up as much sports as I possibly can. And I will watch anything and everything that is on! Case in point, I am reasonably certain that over the past few winter Olympics (Sochi in 2014 and Vancouver in 2010), I watched every single curling match.
I adore the competition that takes place for the two weeks every two years, I am fascinated by the breadth of competition presented by nations around the world, I feel pride when my nation (or individual I am cheering for) wins a medal or does well, and I am saddened when they lose of fall short. It is a hell of a ride, and I enjoy every minute of it.
I remember Olympians that return and cheer for them to medal again or reach new heights. I enjoy learning about the fresh faces that my country sends, eager to learn their stories and see them grow over the years.
However, as enthusiastic as I am about the Olympics, after the two weeks, it all fades from memory. But does it have to?
Elite athletes should be praised by not only their host countries, but also the world in general. It doesn’t matter if they win gold or get eliminated in the first round. They still competed on a global stage and are one of the world’s best athletes, and I think people forget that too easily.
I am so proud of Canada’s athletes in Rio this year, as we have already accumulated nine medals (two gold, two silver and 5 bronze), and the first week isn’t even over yet!
But the most fascinating piece of news so far with regards to Canada’s medal count is that all nine medals have been earned by women!
So cheer for your country, cheer for your athletes, and enjoy these Olympics. But remember, its not how you start, but how you finish. And each and every athlete competing for their country deserves our praise, respect and support.
And just watch this video of Penny Oleksiak, a Canadian swimmer who had already earned two bronze medals and a silver, clinch a gold.