Going for Gold.

“Don’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get.”
~Michael Phelps

First off, I need to extend last week’s list. Reason #6 why Emily Giffin rocks? She was sweet enough to post a link to my blog on Facebook and Twitter. How awesome is that? Yet more proof of how much she genuinely cares about her readers. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped when I first realized what she’d done, and then it continued to graze the floor as thousands of page views came rolling in. Fun, fun, fun, and such a great way to connect with fellow Emily fans. Thanks to all who commented!

Okay, moving on, I’ve been wanting to write about the Olympics ever since the torch blazed up toward the London sky. Has anyone else been enamored with the Games? As in, having the television on whenever there’s coverage, no matter the sport? As in, staying up until midnight to watch the primetime programming, even when you get up quite early in the mornings? As in, humming the theme song without even realizing it? As in, being so excited for the Spice Girls’ performance at the closing ceremonies? As in, being able to ramble off every sport included in these Summer Games? Anyone? Please say it’s not only me!

I’ve always loved the Olympics. I still remember sitting about two feet from the television, fingers crossed and breath caught in my throat, when Kerri Strug did her second vault in the 1996 Games and clinched the gold medal for our women’s gymnastics team. I was such a fan of the “Magnificent Seven.” Honestly, I’m a fan of pretty much everything about the Olympics. There’s a sense of hope behind them, a can-do attitude that very much aligns with the way I try to live my life. As my MC Sofie – who grew up just outside of Atlanta, where the ’96 Games were held – says:

I was only a teenager when the Games were here, but I remember the spirit that infused the city like it happened just yesterday. There’s a sense of optimism that the Olympics bring about, an inspiration you can’t really describe.

It’s not about winning gold, silver, or bronze. It’s not about getting the highest score. It’s about the diligence, dedication, and devotion the athletes put in for so many years. It’s about the way they motivate us to do the same – whether we’re swimming the backstroke, writing a book, studying our way through med school, choreographing dances to the music in our hearts, anything. No matter what, these people inspire us to push our limits. To dream further. To dream more. It’s about people like Oscar and Liu, who was helped across the finish line by his competitors after an injury. It’s about teamwork between people – like the golden women’s gymnastics team and the rockstar volleyball duo of Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor – and about teamwork between nations. It’s about sportsmanship, unity, and love.

Were there tears because of sadness? Yes (anyone who’s been watching gymnastics will know what I mean). But were there also so many tears of happiness? Absolutely. That’s a big part of what we take away from the Olympics, I think, the joy of watching dreams-come-true. And, though we may not be leaping over hurdles, whirling down from a diving board, or twisting through the air, I actually think the writing community is a lot like the Olympic one. In our own way, we train every day. We sit down at our desks and brainstorm, write, edit, polish. We find the stories within our characters, within ourselves, even when it’s challenging. We work consistently and constantly to make our own dreams come true. They vary for each person: to finish a manuscript, to self-publish, to sign with an agent and go the traditional publishing route, to see our book-babies out in the world. Much like the Olympians’ journey, it can be difficult sometimes. Frustrating. Emotional. But at the end of the day, we get our gold medals, too. Because no matter what plays out on our journeys, we get to experience the inspiration of storytelling, the passion of writing.

And if that doesn’t make us golden, I don’t know what does.

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14 thoughts on “Going for Gold.

  1. Pingback: Writerly Wednesday: Olympics edition | Kristan Hoffman

  2. Same! I remember watch the Magnificent Seven win gold and telling my grandmother and great aunt that someday I’d be there and I’d win them gold medals… Alas, I’m sitting on my couch watching the games in sweet a/c and eating m&ms… Talk about motivation!

    Congrats on the tweet/Facebook post from her! That’s awesome!!!

  3. I love this post! And I agree with your MC ;) Having had a chance to experience it first hand is something very difficult to express. Its the stories really, behind the athletes, whether they win or lose, that keep me enthralled. I think they’re amazing. I hope we can be a little bit amazing like that in our lives too :)

    • I cannot imagine how inspiring it must be to see it firsthand. Talk about a once in a lifetime experience! Did you attend any of the events? Either way, it sounds absolutely awesome. There’s something so special about watching people live out their dreams – and you’re right, it encourages us to make our lives amazing, too. :)

  4. Well, hehe, I think you already know that I love this post, because you’ve captured so well with your words what I think the Olympics (and most sports) are all about.

    Also, WOW how awesome of Emily Giffin to do that! More points for her. :D

    • Thank you again for including the link in your post!

      I know, right? At first I thought I was seeing things … then I couldn’t stop smiling. She totally made my day!

  5. Hi Shari! Love that quote from Michael Phelps. And I loved this post. Thank you. It was just what I needed as this past week I’ve struggled with writing.

    (So cool about Emily Giffin, too.)

    Have a great rest of the week!

    • Isn’t it great? Sometimes it takes awhile to find quotes to start each post, but this one jumped out right away and I knew it was fitting! I’m glad it resonated with you – and hope that things have turned around & the writing’s going well for you! :)

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