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25 August 2021
Keeping an eye out for others in the tough times
Words Belinda Davis
Well, you can’t be alive and not know that the 2020 Summer Olympic Games have recently been held in Tokyo.
News about the highs and lows, successes and failures, medals, times and achievements, was everywhere over the two weeks of competition. Expectations were great, especially after having to wait an extra year for these Games.
Thankfully, Australia is in a similar time zone to Tokyo, so the traditional curse of bleary eyes wasn’t an issue for sports fans who regularly stay up half the night to watch international sport.
My 13-year-old son fast became an expert on all things Olympic as he watched the coverage and soaked up the constant barrage of trivia that the commentators supplied.
There is something about watching an ‘underdog’ nation do the impossible on the international stage. At the Rio Olympics in 2016, I was blessed to witness Fiji win its first-ever Olympic medal, a gold in the men’s rugby 7s. The emotion on the players’ faces was overwhelming. After the match, we saw the Fiji captain call his team to prayer, and they sang a song attributing their win to God’s power in their lives.
They won the gold medal again in Tokyo, and the players this time sang ‘We Will Overcome’ with typical passion. The occasion had added meaning as the island nation of Fiji continues to battle a COVID-19 outbreak.
Before the Tokyo Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose to add the word ‘Together’ to the Olympic motto, unanimously approving ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together’. The IOC stated that this indicated the solidarity that we, as an international community, needed in these difficult times.
The even more amazing Paralympics are now set to begin on 24 August. Paralympians are so inspirational, especially when we consider the added obstacles they have overcome to achieve the physical feats they do. It is difficult for me to watch these events and not be moved to tears.
Whenever I see major sporting events, I wonder about the journey that has brought each athlete to this very point. No one can do it in isolation. Together is very much what is required.
What about all those who helped them on their way? Parents, coaches and teammates who encouraged, cajoled and advised. I am reminded of a lovely verse in the Bible written to people of faith who were facing tough times. “Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it …” (Hebrews chapter 12, verse 1, The Message translation).
Life, sometimes, is like sport. We can often feel like we are under pressure to perform, to win at every turn. I don’t know about you, but I am not convinced I deserve a medal in the ‘sport’ of parenting! I am reminded, however, of how much easier life is when I feel like I have a ‘pioneer’ cheering in my corner. That gives me what I need to persevere and improve on past performance.
Inspired by all Olympic athletes, I aim to be faster, higher, stronger, together in my own life, and keep an eye out for others, so I can help them achieve this in their lives – especially when times are tough.
I hope you will, too. And in the meantime – “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”
Major Belinda Davis is a Salvation Army officer (pastor) in South Australia. She blogs at a-blessed-life.com