For the next two weeks or so many minds, TV sets and computers will be tuned into the 2012 Summer Olympic Games taking place this time around in London. We’ll watch highly-trained athletes compete in too many events to keep track of. Some dreams will be realized; many more will not be, at least not fully.
New champions will be crowned, medals will be placed around winners’ necks, national anthems will be played and tears will be shed.
Will you be watching?
I’ll be tuning in now and then, but my interest admittedly, is only mild to moderate at best.
Even though I’ve never been much of an athlete myself, like most people I have great admiration for those who are. I admire athletes of all kinds, not just at the Olympic level, but all athletes, right down to the ones on the local little league team.
With the arrival of the Olympic Games once again, I find myself wondering why we hold athletes in such high regard. Why do we admire them so much?
Is it simply because they can do things physically we know we cannot, or is there more to it than this?
And the fact that countries from all over the world generation after generation put together teams every four years proudly sending them off to gather in one location to compete in highly publicized games, seems to say athleticism is something we all admire.
Why do we place so much value on physical accomplishments anyway? Do we give equal value to accomplishments of the mind?
I’m also wondering just what makes a champion a champion.
Of course we all know it takes lots of hard work, dedication, good genes, having the right opportunities, a decent coach or trainer and also probably a healthy dose of sheer good luck along the way.
Undoubtedly, it’s a combination of all these things and many other factors as well.
Perhaps it’s easier to define what makes an individual a champion.
But what makes a championship team?
Is it working together, carrying the load for others when necessary, never giving up, everyone giving it their all, setting the right goals, again having a great coach, racking up enough wins or mostly, more good luck?
Or does a champion or championship team need something more?
Perhaps all champions tap into something intangible, some secret for success that few of us are able to discover and most never will. Clearly more than just talent is involved. Champions go above and beyond and then some.
Maybe this is why we hold champions in such high regard.
Champions have more than talent.
Champions have heart.
Interestingly, when I looked up the word champion in the dictionary I was surprised. Here are the definitions from my well-worn Second College Edition New World Dictionary:
1. a valiant fighter 2. a person who fights for another or for a cause 3. a winner of first place or first prize in a competition
The competitive event-type champion definition came in third. For some reason this pleasantly surprised me.
Words evolve depending on how we use them I guess.
I would wager that for most people the word champion conjures up images of the fine-tuned athlete; the type the whole world will be watching for the next couple of weeks.
However, perhaps we don’t need to look that far off or that hard to find champions.
I propose that as you watch this year’s Olympics with whatever time and interest level you decide to give it, you also think about those other two definitions.
Think about valor.
Think about causes.
Then look around you.
There might be a champion living on your street, attending your church or school, or sitting beside you at work. There might be a champion helping you bag your groceries, volunteering to listen to a child read, serving in the military, bringing an elderly person a hot meal, rescuing an animal or yes, dealing with or caring for someone with cancer.
Heck, there might even be a champion living under your very own roof!
Perhaps champions are all around us if only we pause to notice them.
Will you be watching the Olympic Games and if so, what events do you plan to watch most?
Are you, or have you ever been an athlete? (Go ahead and brag a little!)
What do you think makes a champion a champion?