Planning a Daily Olympic Routine
The Olympic Games represent the pinnacle of achievement for any determined and committed sports competitor. While Gold, Silver or Bronze remain the ultimate target for these athletes - the GOLD is eventually awarded to 3 out of every 100 athletes who make it to the games.
The true, subconscious and emotionally charged realisation of the magnitude of accomplishment (as well as the world’s recognition and praise for these individuals ), does not really sink in completely upon checking in to the Olympic Village.
The significance of all the years of pain, sacrifice and acknowledgment of commitment really hits home once the OPENING CERMONY begins and athletes walk into the Olympic stadium - not as individuals on their own mission, BUT AS ONE TEAM OF EXCEPTIONALLY PROUD INDIVIDUALS - Proud to be representing their country and its hopes of unity through participation (not necessarily glory) as they walk behind their chosen flagbearer.
This is the also the moment that PRIDE, the NEED TO PLEASE and the FEAR OF POSSIBLE FAILURE all meet in one place. In my personal opinion it represents a watershed moment in these individuals lives. At the end of 2 weeks of competition : will they fly home as HEROES or (only personally perceived) ZEROES ?
For the average couch potato, like myself and billions of other spectators, the 10 000 athletes have already achieved what many of us once had dreams of achieving. AGAIN, not the returning of an olympic medal around ones neck, but of just being recogised in being able to compete.
In many ways, I think about the annual ACADEMY AWARDS in Hollywood. For all aspiring and accomplished actors and actresses', the acknowledgment of being nominated in a category is significant enough, but having not won can be soul destroying for a few.
Are you aware that Meryl Streep has been nominated 21 times for an OSCAR but has only won 3 of them ?
Interestingly enough, her first 2 (for KRAMER VS KRAMER and SOPHIES CHOICE) came in her first 5 years of acting.
After winning best actress for Sophies Choice in 1981, she waited another 30 years before she received her third OSCAR for THE IRON LADY (the story of Margaret Thatcher)
In total, around 75 films and 3 OSCARS to show for it.
Back to the Olympics…now that the opening ceremony is done, the athletes focus on their ultimate goal of taking home a medal.
In essence this second phase - the PERFORMANCE PHASE of their Olympic story is again, not an individual effort - it is all about another TEAM that takes over...the team comprising of coaches, physios, nutritional experts and sometimes, countless more people.
These ''extras'' are by no means mere periphery 'plus ones', as they have already (sometimes months in advance) organised an hour by hour plan/itinerary to be followed per day in order for their performer to ensure that they are ready to peak in their event at exactly the right time.
The CLOSING CEREMONY is a bitter sweet time as it symbolises the end of either a successful or unsuccessful 2 weeks under the global microscope of acceptance and praise OR criticism and ridicule. All in all it represents the proverbial 'post mortem' stage of an athlete's (and indeed the entire country’s) performance on the world stage. This post mortem is done mainly through the media - and especially critical in social media - can last for the next 4 years, until time arrives for the next OPENING CEREMONY to begin with hope and excitement.
Time for an ADJusted ROUTINE REFLECTION
Growing up I set my sights on achieving great things on the tennis court and golf courses. Problem was that neither of these sports were recognised as Olympic sports on the 20th Century. I maintain that is why I never pushed for my dream of Olympic glory 🤔
Jax and I got married a few months after the 2000 Sydney Olympics…and in my romantic and heartfelt speech to the love of my life…I slipped in a declaration to our 100 or so guests of my intention to compete as a rower in the 2004 Athens games…..🤭
Needless to say....LIFE GOT IN THE WAY !
Let’s break the analogy of the 3 stages of the Olympic experience down a bit and use it as a framework for our daily time with our Lord above. Remember that I am neither an ordained minister or a theologian but below I share my 3 part formula that I try my best to stick to daily.
1. DAILY OPENING CEREMONY
I see this as the moment I wake up to the moment I sit at my desk to start my day of work. It is usually around two hours....and includes getting dressed, having the morning coffee or breakfast, getting into and driving a car to my place of employment. (or whatever mode of transport you use to get to work)
These 120 minutes are when I make a concerted effort to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes alone and quietly trying to reflect on what lies ahead, giving thanks for waking up this morning as well as motivating myself for the unknown that lies ahead.
For me I start with a daily reading or podcast, I then focus my prayers on much that the athletes in their opening ceremony (mentioned above) experience.
I recognise the TEAM around me...my family, my friends and my colleagues walking together and NOT ALONE behind our flagbearer - JESUS.
I acknowledge and celebrate the privilege of being alive as well as the opportunity lying right in front of me - the recognition of achievement - I have got to a space where I want to make God proud.
I also acknowledge that, as a sinning human, I face potential failure all the time but ask for the strength to either avoid it, or if I fall short, I ask for the Lord to help me see what I have done wrong and then learn from this in order to prevent it from happening again.
2. PERFORMANCE PHASE
As an Olympic athlete, I reiterated (above) that this is NOT a time of solo focus on your event. It remains a team effort as your performance will also be a reflection on your support team.
As a Christian, remember that while you alone determine your actions, you remain accountable for these actions. Not only accountable to your Lord and saviour, but also to your ‘support team’ - prayer warriors, church members, family, friends and many more that a lot of us are unaware of. So, during your day, you must focus on making them all proud…NOT least of all the Man above.
Focus every moment on your goal…your objective if you would prefer. What is your objective ? If you are a Christ follower, this is an easy one to answer.
3. THE CLOSING CEREMONY
Now, you have made it home.
Whatever happened during the day, personal reflection on your performance will begin once you have 5 minutes alone before you close your eyes and rest.
This is the ONLY TIME you are alone…with nothing but time to unpack your day, acknowledge mistakes made and celebrate moments of triumph. Also, unlike the athletes who face 4 years of performance analysis, you will sit with yourself before the Lord and only HE can analyse and judge….
Regardless of what has happened today, once you lay before the Lord and repent, once you ask His forgiveness, YOU ARE FORGIVEN, today is over and forgotten ! He celebrates you! The apple of His eye.
JESUS WILL ALWAYS LET YOU KNOW :