The following response regarding my thoughts on the Olympics was submitted for publication the week of February 15th in the local press: Burbank, La Canada, Sun Valley
As an introvert who prefers the comfort of a cozy dinner with friends to the cacophony of a stadium filled with zealous sports fans, I’ve always had a hard time relating to all the hubbub around professional sports. And then there’s all the time and money that goes into ever refining and exaggerating the capabilities of human bodies which, while intriguing and even awe-inspiring, are an unrealistic goal for the rest of us mere mortals.
With that said, it’s hard not to get excited about the Olympics! Where else do we see such a willingness to look beyond the differences of nationality, religion and politics, toward an ideal of human perfection, if not improvement?
And while that perfection may seem to be overly involved with worldly concerns (physical performance), let us not forget that performing and competing on the Olympic level requires tremendous mental, emotional and spiritual concentration. It takes sacrifice, and sometimes (as we saw this week) that sacrifice is extreme.
It’s clear that performance on the Olympic level wouldn’t be possible for any one of the athletes currently “going for the gold” without the presence and support of the countless individuals behind the scenes or in the bleachers, who serve as role models, trainers, financial backers, promoters, spectators or fans.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to allow myself to get swept up in the hubbub – because I welcome reminders of our common humanity, our interdependence, and our ability to surprise even ourselves.
The Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale
Unitarian Universalist Church of Verdugo Hills, La Crescenta, CA