If I were to rank my favorite months, February would be near the bottom. Granted, it’s the shortest month on the calendar, but it qualitatively feels long. This, no doubt, comes from the rhythm of my life. Not only is it usually a gray, cold month in western New York State, but in the world of college basketball and college hockey, February marks the official grind — conference game after conference game where all the teams start to look alike and really aren’t we ready for tournament time already?
Ah, but this year, the sun is shinning a bit more in Buffalo. And today, oh, we can’t be sad today.
There is something fantastic about the Olympics. It’s like a hot toddy on a cold winter day. It’s inspirational. It’s motivational.
Over the next two weeks, we will have plenty of stories which will feed our inner cynic. We will question athletes and their injuries. We will debate how female athletes are portrayed and framed. We will probably discuss performance enhancing drugs and perhaps touch upon the commercialization of the amateur athletic movement.
These are all important topics, some of which will even be tackled here. But even in the face of all that is wrong or broken or disappointing about the Olympics, there still remains something magical about the competition.
At the heart of the Olympics are men and women who have dedicated a significant portion of their lives, and livelihood, to achieve something important to them. They have a dream, a goal, a mission and they continued to pursue that end — in the face of doubt, injury, illness and a host of obstacles both internal and external that came in their way.
There are moments of glory and ones of pain. And while sitting home on my couch watching these athletes have their moments — good, bad and ugly — won’t make me an elite athlete, it will give me a good dose of hope and inspiration and motivation. While I may play the Olympic theme in my head during some of my workouts, the inspiration isn’t just about doing as well as I can in my own athletic endeavors.
It’s about being the best version of myself that I can be. It’s about embracing everything that shows up in my life and knowing that no matter what it is, I can handle it with strength and grace, just like an Olympian.
I can even handle the grind of February — with a smile.