I’ve been watching the Olympics pretty much non-stop since we got back from the woods. I love the Olympics. I’m not even sure I know why.
It’s not simply that I love sports. I don’t.
I like some sports. But even the sports I like, I hardly ever watch on TV. And those are not the sports I’m watching during London2012 (trademark symbol).
What I usually say is that I like the stories. Of course I do. Stories are my true Game. But, like many many people, I’m not a fan of most of the people who do the Olympic storytelling. Bob Costas is—God, I don’t think we’ve yet invented a word that explains Bob Costas. And Ryan Seacrest? Are you kidding me? Was Billy Bush not available? Were there no, you know, former athletes available? What are all the past gold medalers doing on the sidelines when Ryan Seacrest is getting his hair poofed?
So? Stories. My Olympics love goes along with my love for things like Apollo 13 or—yeah, I’m going there—SpaceCamp. Movies like The Incredible Journey (the original, like I have to say that) and Hatchi. I adore a good Triumph Over Adversity tale. I love a touching story of loyalty and devotion. (Those last two also feature dogs, and you don’t need me to remind you how I feel about dogs.)
You know what else I love? A story of hard work paying off. Not just the story, but the idea behind it. It’s not always true in real life. Even the people at the games this year whose names will never fall from Seacrest’s lips have worked hard to get there. Look around you. Even people whose day jobs never bring them within a mile of a medal podium (or a raise or a thank you) work hard.
But sometimes it’s true that hard work pays off. During the Olympics, it feels true.
These athletes also remind me of the only writing advice I’ll really ever need.
You want to reach your goals, you have to go after it every day. Not when you feel like it, not once in a while. Every day, or the muscle atrophies. Every day, or all you’ll ever see is someone zooming past you.
Not that writing is a competition. I’d never medal. But that’s where real life and the Olympics get to part ways. In the Olympics, very few get to reach their goals. Out here, all of us have a chance.