Friday, February 19, 2010

Patriotism and Family

Exemplified or lost?

The Olympics intrigue us, capture our attention, and inspire dreams and motivations. What an amazing sight to see the world come together on this grand stage of sport. Flags wave and anthems peal and the national favorites play the game of their lives. Heartwarming stories give us pictures of families who would follow their child or spouse to the ends of the earth. Each athlete gives it his all.

For whom and at what cost?

Despite the national pride that is inherent in the Olympic Games, I am surprised by how many athletes have left their home country for the opportunity to play their sport. While this thinking defines a minority of athletes, it makes me think. These athletes have changed their citizenship. They have left all they have known for the sake of the sport.

Some stories relay a sad side of family. These athletes have left all that behind as well. One coach hasn't seen his family in twenty years and can't even recognize his son. The phrase "I have given up everything for this" is a sad indicator. Other athletes were identified as young children and taken from their families just to study, practice, and compete for their country. Maybe, I am an old fuddy duddy, but I love my country and would be lost without my family.

It is honorable to be passionate. We are all passionate about something and to some degree are willing to sacrifice for that passion. Christ is the perfect example. He is passionate about us. He gave up his throne, came to earth as a baby, and suffered and died on the cross all because he loves us and wanted us to be in heaven with him forever. That's sacrifice. That's passion.

However, back to the Olympics. When do passion and sacrifice go too far? Maybe we should chalk it up to an individual decision. I don't really know. I just know that this made me think. Being willing to give up your identity with your home country (and in some cases, choose to live in Communism) and giving up the closeness of family appear to me to be over the edge.

In any case, my opinions don't really matter. The Olympics are incredible. The abilities that these athletes have been given are mind-boggling. I mean, really, how do they do those flips? I have enjoyed the show. I am proud of our country's athletes. In two weeks, when the games are over, life goes on both for me and all the athletes who have worked so hard for their chance to shine.

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