Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 2016 Bulletin:
Olympic Drive

Lead article for the September 2016 bulletin, online now.

I love watching the Olympics. I have to admit that when I sat down to write this article I was expecting to write something much different than this. I'm a true underdog fan and its sometimes hard to watch the Olympics when the US is such a dominant force. I found myself more than once rooting for the other team. Initially I thought these US athletes are so much more privileged than other parts of the world with their endorsements and people willing to take care of their immediate needs so they can focus full time on their sport. Then I did some digging and slowly I was proven wrong. Yes, the top competitors in the prime time sports don't have much to worry about financially but you're talking about a hand full of people. There are stories of US Olympians that already won medals in previous Olympics and having to sell everything they own just to go back. There are stories of athletes working low paying full time jobs and then spending another 6 to 8 hours a day training. They don't have big sponsors or wealthy families to pay their way, not unlike many of the people that come from the poorer nations that live in poverty and give up everything for this one opportunity. Yes, it can be argued that poverty in America is different than poverty in many other places on earth, but that's not the point. These people have a drive that most of us cannot even understand. They were given a talent by God and they are sacrificing everything you and I take for granted just to compete in one of the most prestigious events on earth. To be one of the elite few invited just to play the game. Most of us probably don't put as much effort into our career as these athletes put into their sport.

What makes an athlete continue their training if they can barely afford to survive? What makes them go to the Olympics even if they know they have little to no chance of winning a medal? Just to be there, to be recognized as one of the best in the world, to know that they trained their whole life for this one opportunity. Even if their name gets buried at the bottom of a standings board they still did it, they made it to the Olympics.

We need to recognize our own drive and the gifts that God gave us. We may never be the best or maybe not even that good. But when we know we put our heart and soul into something are we not rewarded with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride? That athlete that finished last in an event at the Olympics will still be a local hero that will be looked up to by kids and adults alike. They will have the opportunity to motivate others and live their lives knowing they chased their dreams rather than quitting.

Everyone of us faces our own struggles in life but when we overcome them we know we have succeeded, we didn't quit, and we are better people because of it. Whether your story is one of heartbreak or perseverance at some point in your life you found that Olympic drive and overcame all odds. We are always looking for that Olympic champion in life that can motivate us to not give up and everyone of us can be that person if we find our drive and use our success to help others find their own.

I have the strength for everything through him 
who empowers me. -- Philippians 4:13

God Bless,
Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight