Thank You, Greece, for the enduring gift of the Olympics|Columns|2012-07-27
Thank You, Greece, for the enduring gift of the Olympics
By Gregory Pappas
Today the entire world will celebrate a gift of the Greeks. Amid all of the pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremonies, fireworks, oohs and aahs, as one spectacle after another unfolds in front of a billion people watching... We sometimes lose sight.
We get caught up in name-calling and political scandals... Doping and viral stories circulating the Internet about promiscuous athletes and tantalizing tweets.
At the end of the day-- it's not about that. It's not about a medal, or how many your country will win.
It's about an ancient belief-- an ideology that every four years, humankind will cease all conflict and come together and run, and throw, and jump-- in celebration of sport and human resilience.
Peace in the name of athleticism. A belief that people can unite in the name of friendly athletic competition and compete... For an olive wreath.
This is (yet another) gift of the Greeks to the world. A gift that has endured more than two thousand years.
The cynics will attack me. Go on. Remind me of everything that today is wrong with the Olympics.
"The Olympics have become too political," they will say...
"They have lost their meaning."
"They have become a vehicle of corporations and commercialism has overcome the true meaning of the games."
Drugs, doping... Commercialism, ticket scandals, terrorism, and bribing... Yep. It's all there. Everyone's tried to take a piece of those five sacred rings that today, are one of the world's great symbols and exploit for their own benefit.
But you know what... This wasn't part of the original package that the Greeks shared with the world. If mankind, along the way, has gotten a bit carried away with things... You can't blame the Greeks for that.
I close with a message to the beleaguered Greeks-- to all of us beleaguered Greeks, whether impacted by the financial crisis or not, because we have all felt the pain of the past few years.
The Greeks, at their core, are a people of creation-- not crisis. The Olympics are a great example of this.
This financial crisis that we are experiencing now is but a blip on the timeline of human existence on this planet. And like many other temporary blips-- will be long overshadowed by great creations like Olympism.
So tonight-- put away your cynicism. Stop your U-S-A! chanting just for a moment and quit worrying about whether or not our team uniforms were made in China.
Tonight, as Team Greece walks into the London Olympic Stadium, stop for a moment and say Thank You to the Greeks, for this enduring gift.