Melissa and the girls and I watched the opening ceremonies for the 2006 Olympics last night, and we’ll no doubt watch quite a bit more over the next two weeks. The spectacle, the drama, the stories of striving and succeeding and failing get to us every time. As I wrote before, as I watch these contests I find myself wondering just what is and isn’t praiseworthy about the drive to excel. That performing at such a high level invites all sorts of temptations, and often generates a mindset towards others that is anything but compassionate and charitable, is obvious….and yet, if God has given us bodies that can do beautiful and graceful and marvelous things, how can the desire felt by those who have such gifts to perfect them, to take them to the very limit, be anything but good?
Back in 2004, there was an Olympic hopeful in our ward, and his example helped me see things in a slightly different light. Read what I wrote and what others commented about him–and the games themselves–here. Or, talk about these Olympics if you prefer. For our part, we’ll be cheering on Matt Savoie, a local Peoria boy and true amateur who has surprised everyone this year. And let’s look forward to figure skating in the celestial kingdom! (Terrestial gets curling.)