I am now in Day 2 of my Winter Olympic withdrawal. I can tell this is going to be a rough one. You know you’re in a bad way when you’re watching the news to get a glimpse of the Canadian athletes returning home.
This is a strange addiction as during the 4 year lapse I don’t really think about the Winter Olympics (I don’t have the same connection to the Summer Olympics). It’s not like I mark down the date in my calendar and count it down like Christmas. It just appears, and with that Opening Ceremony I’m hooked. This addiction is certainly aided by advancements in technology as this year every morning when I woke up I would check the CBC Sochi App to see what had happened overnight. My day would be boosted into high gear with the news of Canadian medals, while disqualifications and defeats would put me in a bad mood. Every evening I would watch the musical highlight reel of performances to reflect and get ready for the next day.
The crowning events were of course the hockey. Those semi finals and gold medal games of both the women and men were so charged with emotion (especially in my eldest son’s home where his fiancé is Swedish). Seeing Canadians all around the world tuned in to watch that game on Sunday was amazing, and the win sublime. As I watched the flame go out, I, like the big bear had a tear.
But why is it we get to attached to these games? I know I’m not the only one. As a colleague of mine said today, it was like he was on vacation for the past two weeks and is now having to handle the re-entry. And yes it was quite a trip!
For me, it is the human drama that plays out on the screen. We got to witness greatness, but it was the maple leaf connected to that greatness that made my heart soar. It was also witnessing the defeats. Listening to the back stories of the various Olympians gave insight into their challenging journeys to get there, and what they had to overcome, as well as the ‘village’ of support it took for them to compete on this world stage.
This support came in many forms, including those no longer alive. Often an athlete would speak of a deceased relative or team mate who was with them during their run, or skate. The presence of Sarah Burke, the young Canadian free-style skier who died two years ago was often mentioned as without her this exciting new series of sports would likely not have been at the Olympics. For me it is this kind of humility and reflection that makes us truly human.
For others, like my eldest son, these games are a way for the world to compete with each other without spilling blood. It is a pure form of physical competition/ confrontation where a clock takes the place of land and power.
Whatever the connection, for two weeks we got to feel that roller coaster of life, and what it was like to be faster, higher, and stronger. So now I am challenging myself to get off the couch, take that feeling and put it into my own life. As Steve Podborski’s, one the Canadian Chef de Mission said ‘It’s fun to be good at something.’
ps: For those who need a little help with the withdrawal: