Wednesday, August 01, 2012
ast night, i was reminded why i enjoy the Summer Olympics so much. Perhaps it started when my dad drug me out of my room to witness history in 1972 when Mark Spitz won his sixth and seventh gold medals. He told me, "Son, you may never see this again in your life, so don't miss this."
While i ejoyed Michael Phelp's record setting performance in becoming the most decorated athlete of all time with his 19th medal, it was Aly Raisman's floor exercise that gave me a priceless moment that i will always remember. I don't even know enough about gymnastics to have an intelligent discussion with true fans of the sport, but i watched last night's broadcast of the events that happened earlier that day.
It wasn't watching those five young ladies stand on the medal stand with several of them mouthing the words to the Star Spangled Banner that moved me as much as the look on Aly's face when she completed her final tumbling run on the floor exercise. As she stuck the landing the look on her face was one of awe and unbridled emotion.
After a night that was full of incredible perfomances and heartwrenching disappointment from the young ladies on the Russian team. Her look said all that needed to be said. It reminded me of why i watch sports that i generally won't give five minutes to with rapt attention.
In that moment the reality of what had just happened finally caught up with this incredibly talented young woman. All of those early mornings and late nights in a sweaty gymnasium were realized in the culmination of a dream that she may have hoped would come true.
As human beings we are able to fathom things that animals cannot. Though i am sure a horse that wins the Belmont or the Preakness enjoys the attention that they receive for their victory, i do not believe that the animal can even begin to comprehend the scope and significance of their accomplishment. That ability is reserved for those of us who have been given the capacity to grasp things that are utterly beyond us.
Those moments of awe, that Miss Raisman's face captured in a night that was chocked full of emotions reminds us that we are indeed unique creatures who are quite different from those in the animal kingdom.
I believe that it is the signature of the divine that makes us human and enables us to at least partially comprehend such moments of significance. Last night was a wonderful reminder of our humanity as well as just how complex and beautiful we truly are.