Call me a sentimental fool, but I love the Olympics. Perhaps not the soap-operatic stories that occasionally develop (Tonya Harding, anyone?), but I do love the stories of athletes who triumph over injury, injustice, and against all odds to come out on top. Dreams coming true, that’s what I love to see.
I still get goosebumps whenver I catch a replay of the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team’s victory over the Soviet team (AKA “The Miracle on Ice”). I still remember how excited I was when Dan Jansen finally won the gold in speedskating in 1994. And if you want to really make me cry, then all you have to do is sit me in front of the TV during the opening ceremonies, when the U.S. team enters the stadium. Not to mention I just weep like a baby whenever “The Star Spangled Banner” is played and the U.S. flag is raised.
So I have to admit that I was disappointed to read that figure skater Michelle Kwan has withdrawn from the Olympics due to injury. These were her final games, her last shot at the gold medal that had eluded her in Nagano and Salt Lake City. Granted, the U.S. still has three very strong contenders in women’s figure skating, but it’s a little bittersweet to see a young women who had dreamed for so long of winning Olympic gold see her dreams come up short.
It’s even tougher when our own dreams fail to come to fruition. Sometimes we want to be the athlete, doing the work, taking the punches, getting the gold, but for whatever reason, God sits us on the sidelines instead. Sometimes our dreams come true later; other times they do come true but through someone else instead of ourselves.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming; in fact, I think we don’t dream as loftily as God would have us dream most of the time. But we also have to accept the fact that some of our dreams, no matter how noble and holy they may be, are not meant to come true, at least not in our way. And that’s tough to let go of sometimes.