Reporter's Note: President Obama is no doubt going to keep an eye on the Olympics in some fashion. Perhaps he can use the other eye to read my daily letters.
Dear Mr. President,
Here is something I just don’t want to hear from any of our Olympians: “Well, you know, I’ve always thought of myself as just a normal person.”
It seems like there is always some athlete who comes out with a gem like that during an interview, and while I understand their intent, I am convinced that nothing could be further from the truth. I have had the privilege of being around some actual athletes (as opposed to the weekend warriors we all know, who are athletic…but not athletes) and they are not at all like any normal people I know.
They are stronger, faster, taller, bigger…pick whatever kind of laudatory “-er” you want. More than that, they are usually, absurdly single-minded when it comes to excelling at their sport. While most of us grouse about having to get out of bed for an early shift at the office, a top runner may vault from his warm blankets at 4:00 am in the dead of winter, to launch himself onto the icy streets and grind out fifteen miles before breakfast. Then he’ll do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And on and on and on.
They relentlessly test the limits of endurance, concentration, and will. They hyper-drive muscles, tendons, bones, and joints. They grapple with the forces of physics, fight against the pull of gravity, and wage unstoppable war against their own frailties.
Yea, they’re not like us. But we might do well, in some ways, to be a lot more like them.
Hope all is well. Go USA!
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