Until a week or so ago, I was in a “content” vortex after years of channeling February “love” themes. Thank goodness, therefore, for the 2014 Olympics and the “once every 4-year” opportunity to add a little variety to my February routine.
It’s likely that stateside, not Sochi side, holiday consumers punctuated last Friday’s Valentine celebrations with the same Hallmark, Godiva, and/or FTD gestures as in year’s past. Travel 5,517 miles, you’ll may still find some flowers and chocolate in the Olympic village. And yet, love takes on an additional dimension against the backdrop of the Caucus Mountains.
I’m likely not saying anything you don’t know already or quickly realize watching NBC and, especially, its feature stories on trials, tribulations, defeat, and glory.
The Olympic athlete is a beacon of love.
As the ceremonies open, you witness love among athletes wearing different stripes and stars.
Despite the healthy competition and occasional palpable conflict between them, you know its love because they share an investment five rings, not just one – their engagement to one another sealed over a fortnight and often many Winters longer.
You witness love as a covenant between the:
- skaters, their ice and their sow cows
- skiers, their snow and their moguls
You know it’s love because the meticulous care dedicated to their crafts rivals the care between people who adore one another.
Waiting at the finish line, you witness love among:
- coaches for their protégés
- parents for their children
You know it’s love because in the final [Bob Costas] analysis, pride invariably trumps podium placement.
And most importantly, you witness love within the athlete him/herself for his/her work.
- a love relationship ultimately defined by calling, faith, and sacrifice not tangible gold, silver, or bronze
- a love relationship where “sticking to it” is the non-negotiable norm even when sticking just one landing feels impossible
- a love relationship where “my best” is the only acceptable standard
- a love relationship where emotion doesn’t discriminate – tears flow as blindly at the top of one’s game as they do at the bottom of an unforgiving peak.
Last Friday, on one side of the world, we enjoyed our fleeting day of roses and truffles . Olympic athletes everywhere teach us a stunning, everyday lessons about love and the relationships we covet and cultivate – with our partners, friends, colleagues, organizations. On any given day, the athletes’ mountain may beckon or reject, bring joy or disappoint, cast soft shadows or icy glares – as we all do. In response, the athlete always offers the same unconditional response – an embrace.