Every two years when the Olympics take over, everything else seems to fade into the background; At least that's how it is in my house. For as long as I can remember, the Olympics have been like a national holiday to my family. For those two weeks of competition, it's all we watch and talk about. The media seems to do the same, with constant coverage and updates; always a new winner to interview or an event to air.
I know not everyone feels the same way about the Olympics, some people seem to forget they're even happening. It still shocks me that there are people who could not care less about them when I actually feel a little tinge of sadness when I can't watch. It's about more than just the competition though. It's about athletes from nations all over the world coming together for the love of their sport. It's about representing their country through hard work and dedication.
It's about the Bolivian swimmer who was overwhelmed by emotions at the opening ceremonies. It's about the 19 year old boy whose childhood dream came true. It's about training even harder than before for redemption. It's about the team of refugees competing together. It's about the athletes who break their own world records.
The athletes who give it their all even if they aren't favored to win. The athletes who smile and scream and hug and cry when they win a medal, and the ones who are brought to tears hearing their national anthem on the podium. Whether it's their first or nineteenth time, that reaction never seems to change. Their pride in that moment is enough to melt even the coldest of hearts.
It's not that the problems of the world disappear, it's just that we choose to focus on the good. The games serve as a distraction to the constant stress and sadness we face pretty much every other day. We get sucked in to the beauty of the world coming together in one place, everyone hoping to make his or her home country proud. We see sportsmanship and friends among competitors. We see that people of almost every race, religion, and background can all get along and come together to do great things.
I know not everyone is like me when it comes to the Olympics, and that most people don't cry over the extinguishing of the flame at the end of the games (true story, London 2012, watched the closing ceremonies twice, cried both times). But if you aren't on the edge of your seat when your country is competing, cheering on the athletes as if you were there in the stands then you really have to work on your national pride. Because in a world where every day seems to bring a new tragedy, it's nice to shine a a little golden light on everything.