The teachers and students at my son's elementary school are having a two-week celebration of the 2010 Winter Olympics this month. Each classroom has been "assigned" a Winter Olympic nation to follow, cheer for, and learn about. Last Thursday I was in to visit with one of the primary classes. I had a great time talking to the kids about the Olympics.
The inuksuk pictured at right is installed in the school's foyer.
In some ways, I have never been much of a Believer. I am trained to be something of a skeptic. I have, for example, at different times over the past five years, expressed various levels of disBelief that Canada could Own the Podium in 2010.
After nine days of competition, it's even more difficult for me to Believe that the Canadian team is going to win more medals than any other nation at these Games (despite the reassurances of people I respect at the COC). I Believe in numbers, and frankly, the numbers aren't looking too good. If you are in the business of counting Canadian medals at these Games, things are looking pretty grim.
What I Believe — and what I love about the Olympic Games — is that every time I sit down to watch an Olympic competition, I am going to see the athletes performing in a way they have never performed before. I Believe, in particular, that Canadian athletes are going to show that they are among the very best in the world.
Sometimes, that Belief hurts. It is never easy to see an athlete's day end in misfortune or missed execution. Over the past three days, there has been enough Canadian misfortune and missed execution to fill a newspaper. It might be enough to make some people abandon their Belief.
But not me. Tonight, when I sit down on the couch to watch the Olympics again, I will choose to continue to Believe. And my reward will be to experience those moments when my favourite athletes achieve something I never expected — but Believed in anyway. If I ever lose that Belief, then I will have lost the best part of a sports fan's Olympic experience.
The truth is, there is no reason to think that an athletic misfortune yesterday will lead to another disappointment today. There are hundreds of athletes at the 2010 Olympic Games who have not yet had their last chance to compete. Those athletes, their coaches, and their families and friends still Believe. They Believe in themselves and the moment still in front of them. I'm going to be Believing right along with them.