Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympic effort

The Olympic games always take me back to childhood.  The music alone is so friendly and familiar.  It's fun to watch all the competitors.  The stories of the athletes tell of dedication and support from families.  I was especially touched by the Canadian who won the first ever gold medal earned by a Canadian on Canadian soil.  This athlete's older brother has cerebral palsy and serves as his biggest fan.  It was great to see them celebrate together.

But some athletes pay a very high price for their success.  They spend years of their lives, sacrificing everything but the sport.  Some athletes only see their parents a couple of times a year.  They get up at 4 a.m. to train, then go to school.  After school they train some more, then stay up late to keep up with their studies.  That level of sacrifice is impressive, but I wonder how many of these folks regret what they have missed.  Not only do their relationships suffer, but they miss out on a lot of the fun of youth.

Is it worth it to win an Olympic medal, if you give up your childhood?  I don't think you can make up for the lost years.  Most athletes never receive medals.  After giving your whole life for something, it must leave you empty when it's all over, with or without a medal.

I'm sure many dedicated athletes can overcome these challenges, and live a balanced life through their training.  But to me, many of these training programs look way out of balance and can keep someone from having a normal life in the long run.

Yet to compete at the highest level, it looks like you have to go for broke.  What would it look like if we went for broke in loving Jesus and loving others?