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Thursday, February 11, 2010

A magical thing...

I am getting excited about the upcoming Winter Olympics that start in Vancouver tomorrow night. Not really sure why but I have always really felt the Olympics were something really special and have always had a powerful effect on me. Not sure if I like the Summer or the Winter best...I guess I like 'em both for different reasons. In some ways, the Winter Games have a unique charm for me. This may because Of the 1980 games in Lake Placid NY when the US Hockey Team shock the USSR and the world by first beating the Russians then winning the Gold Medal. Folks that weren't alive at that time or were too young can't really began to understand the effect that victory had on Americans during those closing years of the Cold War.

Americans were still reeling a bit after the all the early hope that turned to turmoil and heartache of the late 60's and the apathy of the 1970's. This was a bigger deal then we even realized at that time and really gave most Americans a reason to feel proud about their country again. At that time, it wasn't popular to have any kind of nationalistic feelings regardless of shape or form. It's like we had to still act shameful for our countries mistakes in Vietnam and our continuing lack of progress with Civil Rights and rights for woman. Though we had made some strides in those areas and had began to put Vietnam behind still didn't look good to openly praise our country at that time.

The Lake Placid games began to change that...followed of course by the presidency of Ronald Reagan in which he continued to focus on building our countries collective self-esteem after that jump-start in the 1980 Olympics. But Reagan and his policies are not the subject of my attention tonight. It's the magical feeling I get when I know that athletes from all over the world, even a violent, dangerous world such as we live in now, can come together in peace to compete against each other in sport. It is not a perfect situation and I know that the Olympic Games have their share of critics. But for me it has always given me cause for Hope...hope that we can co-exist in this world. Compete as separate countries w/out anger yet show the best side of what each country and culture have to offer. Even as a young boy I had a sense that this was about more then skiing or track events or hockey or swimming, etc., etc.

It made me feel good then and it makes me feel good now. Let the Games begin.....

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