I was really hoping not to be on my couch watching the Olympics this summer. I had high hopes of being, once again, a podium contender. Instead, I’m sitting on a couch, envious, watching the show unfold. Most people who know me, know I’m pretty philosophical about situations like these, and I tend not to get too worked up. I believe there’s an element of stoicism necessary when one’s an athlete, and part of that approach is accepting those things beyond your control.
I’ve accepted it. I’m now a fan and already incredibly proud the Canadian team. Hell, not just the Canadian team, I’m proud of every athlete and coach that is in London and putting everything on the line. I’ve written elsewhere that the thing about the Olympics that is so amazing, at least to me, is the way athletes, and coaches, have to expose themselves in the most public of ways, if they have any hope of performing. It’s something which outside of sport, doesn’t happen all that often; the culmination of years, if not decades, of training comes down to one brief, extremely public moment. Even if an athlete under-performs, the simple act of showing up and putting oneself in a position where there is no hiding and no second chances, is an honorable and admirable feat.
I’m now at leisure to enjoy those performances in a way I never could before. I get to shelve my athletic Id for a while and simply enjoy the show. I can now simply watch and enjoy a mature Phelps transcend sport; a Chinese swimmer destroy records and expose unfounded, narrow-minded attitudes; Canadians humbly (and I think that’s a good thing) kick-ass; Pundits constantly pretending to be amazed by twitter; the IOC struggling to keep what it owns, and getting dangerously close to being morality police; finally, and most of all, I get to watch my friends, whether they be athletes, COC, media, coaches, mangers…etc, doing their best to make us proud. And although that is a definite second best to what I had hoped to be doing this summer, things could be a lot worse.