“Faster, higher, stronger.”. Respectfully.

I’m really looking forward to the winter Olympics this year, and not just because of the sports.
I’m ready to gasp at the daring speed of courageous downhill skiers.
I’m eagerly anticipating the sight of strong and graceful skaters performing amazing aerial leaps and turns on thin blades of steel while flying across ice with serene faces and gracefully arched arms.
I’m expecting to marvel as icicles form on the eyelashes of the cross-country skiers.
To gasp at aerial tricks performed forty-five feet in the air over halfpipes.
To be riveted by snowboarders jostling for position while speeding and jumping over a slick challenging course.
I am looking forward to all of this.
But not just all of this.
Even though watching gifted athletes perform amazing physical feats is awe inspiring, that is not why I’m excitedly planning to record every moment.
Even the wishful thought of being inspired to revive my own personal fitness goals is not the primary reason I plan to watch.
The thing I’m really looking forward to is the possibility that the sight of these dedicated athletes from over 90 countries can remind us that competition and cooperation can still exist side by side.
I’m hoping we can remember both winners and losers are part of a larger group defined as being competitors. And competitors can respect each other. Maybe we can reacquaint ourselves with the concept of respect. Not just respect for our friends and team-mates, but respect for our foes and adversaries as well.
Because we sadly seem to have forgotten what this kind of gracious interaction looks like.
Even within our own country, our inability to cordially collaborate is so discouraging I want to mandate all our political representatives to watch the Olympics as well. Together. In one room.
I imagine Democrats and Republicans sitting as a cohesive group while marveling at demonstrations of speed and grace. I envision all our representatives putting aside their acrimonious negotiations to admire the dedication of these young competitors.
I would like them to cheer, not only for our American athletes, but for the dedication and hard work represented by all these talented athletes.
I hope they will be inspired to reach across the aisle by the cooperation of the ice hockey team comprised of athletes from both North and South Korea. Perhaps the courageous participation of a single first-time winter Olympic competitor from Singapore will remind them of the importance of standing up with pride and honesty. I’m envisioning smiles on the faces of our representatives as they share the pleasure of watching the world come together at the opening ceremonies.
I hope our political leaders enjoy the handshaking, fist-bumping and picture taking. I hope they empathize with the gratitude and awe demonstrated by the athletes in this great salute to our world community.
This year it feels more important than ever.
It is time to be reminded that cordial interaction and exchange is still possible.
I want to see best wishes offered and accepted on all sides. I’m going to be watching for graciously stated messages of congratulations. And I’m hoping to see these behaviors not just on the part of the athletes, but from our world leaders and representatives as well.
Please dear world athletes, show us how to be cordial again. Remind us that civility still exists.
I am planning to cheer for everyone. I will admire each brave athlete who courageously appears on this world stage proudly representing themselves, their sports and their countries.
I hope they behave with comradery and respect.
I’m really looking forward to the Olympics.
I hope they will remind us of who we should be.

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