Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

The Olympics Can Be Your Resolution!

I am not a swimmer. I am not a diver. I am not a rower. I am not a soccer player. I’ve never played water polo. The closest I ever came to being a gymnast was 5 minutes of glory in 9th grade P.E. class. However, I can’t seem to stop watching. The Olympics have a way of mobilizing the collective interest of the world and encouraging fascination in sports that people have no personal connection or commitment to at any other point in the year. People enjoy the athleticism, the personal stories, the underdog victories, the heartbreaking defeats, and simply watching thousands of athletes at the pinnacle of physical fitness competing on a world stage.

In many ways, the Olympics are a reminder of why I work out in the first place. Aside from these two weeks, most people will never recognize the names of a majority of these athletes. We won’t see them in advertisements, and they won’t show up on morning talk-shows. Despite this, they continue to train. The dedicate their time and energy to a sport they love, and aside from family, friends, and coaches, they do it when nobody is looking. They train and they compete for the love of their sport and for the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits it bestows upon them every time they go out to the track/pool/course/lake/river/mat/gym.

Now, I don’t have any data to back this up, but I’m willing to bet that the amount of people around the world who commit or recommit to working out/getting in shape/participating in a sport after the Olympics rivals the number of resolutions people proclaim right after the ball drops. Heck, I don’t even enjoy getting in the pool and even I have found myself wanting to swim a few laps. There is just something about the energy, commitment, and untainted talent and excitement of the Olympics that is inspiring on a completely different level.

Aside from these two weeks, we are pretty much limited to being spectators for the high-attendance, high-revenue sports (basketball, American football, baseball, hockey). When I watch these sports on TV, I am content to be a spectator. Although I may have played baseball for 12 years in my youth, I have no dreams or delusions of driving up to Minneapolis and trying out for the Twins. However, when I watch the wide variety of sports during the Olympics, I want to get out and be active. I want to try something new. I want to push myself even harder. I’m always thinking that if I can get THIS excited simply watching a sport, just think how much better it would feel to PARTICIPATE.

So, perhaps the Olympics can give us a glimpse into at least a partial solution to the problem of our collective sedentary lifestyle. If we had more exposure to the wide array of sports that people compete in and train for every day, behind the scenes, we might spend less time spectating and more time participating. In the process, we might feel better about our overall well-being.

Saving your resolutions for an arbitrary day in the dead of winter when your desire to step outside your front door is significantly decreased makes no sense. So, don’t just watch the Olympics, but use them as a springboard to start in on those resolutions you’ve been waiting until January 1 to proclaim. Who knows, perhaps you have a champion in you just waiting to emerge!

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