JIM'S PLACE: AUGUST 15

  I will admit from the start that I am a sports junkie.  I don’t watch as many professional sports these days, but if given the choice between a movie of the week, a rerun, or a bad reality show (are there any good reality shows??), I’ll almost always choose a sporting event.  So it shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve been catching as much of the Olympics in Rio as I can—which is only the primetime stuff.  

    How can you not be impressed with Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky??  They are both amazing.  I’d like to root for the USA basketball team, but I’m one of those old-time purists who believe the Olympics should be an amateur-only event.  I’m confused by some of the events in the Olympics.  I watched just a brief minute of the air pistol competition.  I know those shooters are very skilled, but they all stand in a row-perfectly still.  Shouldn’t the Olympics involve SOME kind of movement beyond the index finger pulling a trigger??

    I get a kick out of the stories that emerge—the unknown athletes who rise to the occasion and score a stunning upset.  For instance, the winner of that air pistol event??  A man from Vietnam—Vietnam’s very first medal of any kind in the Olympics.  That’s grand.

    Or Monica Puig.  If you don’t know her you are forgiven.  She is a professional tennis player from Puerto Rico.  I don’t know her ranking among the female professionals, but I’d be surprised if she were in the top twenty.  She won the gold medal and watching her reaction was worth everything.

    Our women’s gymnastics team was awesome!  Simone Biel is extraordinary and she comes complete with a life story that makes you want to root for her again and again.

    The event that captivates my imagination the most is the diving.  After training relentlessly for years and years, all your blood, sweat and tears comes down to one dive.  Any mistake—EVERY mistake is magnified many times over.  It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way it goes.  It’s the same for everybody.  Frankly, I don’t even know how the judges can distinguish between most of the dives—they all look good to me.  

    But there is one element that separates the divers from one another—a way to score more points than the others.  They call it “degree of difficulty”.  A simple Swan Dive (that most any of us can do) does not get awarded the same number of points as the diver who does an inward two and a half somersault with one a half twists—nor should it.  Those athletes that go for the spectacular ought to be rewarded for their courage of risking everything.

    I’m wondering if “degree of difficulty” ought to be factored in to our life scores, too.  Some of of us have had to overcome more than others of us.  You and I both know people who ought to be crippled by the amount of weight they carry on their shoulders, but still they persevere.  Maybe we should give out medals to the ones that inspire us with their pluck—their capacity to overcome adversity.

    And I think I’m glad God judges on a curve—I’m not sure any of us would medal without His grace.

 

PEACE

Jim