The Olympics are over. Maybe now I can get some sleep. Why I felt compelled to stay up late and watch a tape delayed event about which I already knew the conclusion I cannot say. Can you tell me why a tape delayed event had to be broadcast at 11:00 at night? Regardless, I was up several nights in a row cheering for swimmers and gymnasts, runners and soccer players, volleyball teams and divers. I think I used up a year’s worth of television in two weeks. And I never watch sports on television normally. Some of my favorite moments include Michael Phelps proving the NBC commentators wrong. Yes, you can balance a real life and sports and win a gold medal. Or watching the grace of Jordan Weiber who cheered her teammates on despite her own personal loss of not making the All Round competition. I loved the stories about the women track and field competitors. Women who overcame tremendous odds and gave credit to God at the end of every race. The teamwork of the American women’s rowing team, the perseverance of Manteo Mitchell who finished his race despite a broken leg, and Kayla Harrison’s courage to overcome sexual abuse by her girlhood coach are all inspiring. The Olympics is such a contrast to the professional sports players that America spoils and coddled. But, my favorite sport was rhythmic gymnastics. I know, I know, many people think it is not truly a sport, but entertainment. I disagree. The combination of dance, tumbling, balance, hand eye coordination and strength rival any other sport in the Olympics. Not only that, but their routines were both beautiful and challenging. I wept along with Liubou Charkashynana of Belarus when she won the bronze medal in the All Around competition. What would cause me to shout to the television, “Oh Sweet girl, you won, you won!” except for her compelling story of being a 24 year old mother of two who has never placed higher than fourth in a major competition? I was just glad no one else was in the room to see me get so passionate about someone who I have never met, in a sport I never heard of, reaching her goal. I’m just crazy like that I guess. There is someone else I am crazy about. My boy, Billy, in Guatemala and I am cheering for him as he starts school! Yes, my third son has been going to school for a few hours a day. Perhaps that is what compelled me, despite my resolve to pay off youngest son’s wedding bills first, to sign up to go back to Guatemala in November. Or maybe it was Nanny Christy’s story of overcoming life’s adversities. I’m back to counting my pennies and packing my suitcase. When I told some of my coworkers, I expected them to say I was crazy. Instead, they asked what took me so long to sign up. Seem like I have my own group of cheerleaders!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)