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confessions of a realistic pollyanna

This week marks the end of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea. For me it is the second time that I have experienced the Winter Olympics during the middle of summer (I was here on vacation in 2014 when the Sochi games were on). It seems quite difficult to think about snow conditions, wind chill, and cold in the midst of a warmish summer. But indeed the Olympics are here.

Several things go into making a great athlete. First of all one needs to have the right body make up. A 200 kg. person just will not make a great jockey or gymnast. A person who is super model thin won't make a great shot putter either. Then athletes need to be naturally co-ordinated and fast. Athletes need good coaches and good training facilities to practise their craft. They also need to spend hundreds if not thousand of hours practising their sport. They need to be healthy- injuries often prevent top performances. And sometimes they need luck in order to place themselves above their opponents. All of these can make the difference between a medal winning performance and being part of the also rans. And unfortunately some athletes use cheating and performance drugs to gain an advantage.

Isn't the same way in life. Some of us are born certain places which make certain professions much more difficulties. For instance coming from the flat prairies of Canada that meant I would not have the opportunities to practise as much surfing as someone in Bondi, or the same number of opportunities to go mountain climbing as someone born in Nepal. Also my natural body frame meant that I was too tall to be a jockey or to short to be a star basketball player. So circumstances do play a role in what we do.

Just as athletes need good facilities and coaches, we need access to good teachers and educational resources. Without knowledge, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. Without good teachers, guides, and mentors, we get lost in our studies.

We also need to prepare ourselves if we want to succeed. We need to research, learn, experience and strive. Oh sure some people have things handed to them on a platter. But for most of us, we need to work at it. For most of us, things do not come easily, we need to sweat and struggle.

In life there aren't medals. We don't have television cameras broadcasting all of our attempts for the world to see. Yet we would do well to model the work ethic of the athletes that we watch at the Olympics: their dedication, their perseverance, their struggles, their ability to work towards a dream. Maybe then we can reach the medal podium of life. Blessings..

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