Every four years I am mesmerized for a couple of weeks during the summer by sheer spectacle and the celebration of the human body. The TV stays on and I follow almost every event that the Olympics have to offer. I say almost every event because I am remarkably uninterested in watching NBA athletes compete in what I think should be amateur competition.
There is during this time of the summer every four years a celebration of youth and sport that rekindles a sense of nobility I have about humanity and there is something about that which never fails to inspire.
Certainly the Olympics have their issues. 1936 and 2008 showed the world you do not have to put the games in places that honor the dignity of all people and even when the Olympics are in such places, they can be marred. In fact, the earliest Olympics in my memory were the Munich games, which saw the horror of terrorism that has now become commonplace.
I do have to say though, at least in the opening ceremony, London did it right. London, in fact, did it very right showing that you can honor the dignity of the games and yet do it in a way that shows the exuberance of youth and the sheer fun of being with others who will in just one more day be your competitors. Though it was easier to be impressed with Beijing’s precision, it was easier to be in love with London and its whimsy. The games after all should be both celebration and spectacle, but it should be a little more of the former than the later.
Now for the time being the television will be on more than it has been in years and I will be just one more of more than a billion who will cheer on a nation while wanting to see all nations do well. I will be just one of millions saying Go USA while also saying Go World. So let the games begin and lets once more celebrate that joy that comes not only from competition, but from seeing what is best about ourselves.