Can sport haters love the Olympics?

Can sport haters love the Olympics?
I’m not sporty. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m the pupil my PE teachers still have nightmares about: the one who never scored a goal in anything, who hit the ball backwards in a golf lesson, and for whom being part of a school team meant a crimson faced half hour letting the side down.
Heated by the memories of such shameful escapades, as a youngster I trained myself out of behaving competitively. Where competition was applauded, on the tennis or netball court, I knew I was doomed to failure, so I trod a rather lonely path of pretending to scorn competition, training myself not to care about success, until I didn’t, in sport or at work.
As I’ve gained more experience of life and the different things it can throw at you, I gradually learned how a team can do things an individual cannot do alone, using complementary skills, or sometimes “just” providing some words of encouragement. I’ve also seen how competition doesn’t have to be a destructive force to make people feel bad; for example in business, it drives a creative, dynamic force to make products the best they can be, so benefiting the consumer – that’s you and me!
I’d describe my reaction to the announcement that London had won the honour of hosting the 2012 Olympics as dubious/cautious. It seemed a lot of hassle and expense, and isn’t London famous enough already?
Then the Olympic torch came to my home town. It worked out that I had to go along and see it, when normally I might not have done. I was lucky enough to see Michael Johnson hold the torch up high and proud, and suddenly I began to understand….
Friends and family have recently been sharing their Olympic memories with me: where they were when they saw Michael Johnson win his famous races; the GB men’s hockey team winning gold at Seoul. (See this blog for a passionate recollection of Olympic hockey Just as I began to appreciate other people’s skills at work, so I can now start to marvel at other people’s sporting achievements – and appreciate the amazing heights of performance that competition can produce.
So to answer my initial question – yes they can!
Just one more thing to note: my two young daughters have already created their first Olympic memory, before the games even start, by meeting some of the stars of the women’s GB hockey team. I’m so pleased that they have such positive role models in this first Olympic memory, and that they are female too!

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