I don’t give two hoots about most sports.
However, I love that every few years so many people rally around their national teams for the Olympics, or even their favorite teams for an event like the SuperBowl, in such a huge way. The reason for this is simple: Everyone loves a winner.
In other words, in our hearts, we all want to be champions. If we can live vicariously through a team and the players on that team, it allows us to share in their victory—if our team actual wins.
We also love to feel the spirit of being on a team. And the Olympics, or a big sporting event, allows us to "join the team" vicariously.
Plus, we get to share in the journey. As we do, we learn important lessons, such as:
- Hard work pays off. None of the teams or players gets to the Olympics without hard work and tenacity. They show up every day for practice despite sore muscles and being told over and over again how they must improve.
- If you set your sights on a goal, you can achieve it. Although not every team makes it to the Olympics, World Cup, or Super Bowl, and only one wins, the fact that a few do make it onto the field, hill or mat, and one does, indeed, win ( or a few get medals, affirms to us that it is possible to achieve what may see impossible.
- When you fall down, you must get up. There’s a lot of falling down in football, skiing, soccer, gymnastics, skating, and such, but the players get up, shake off their pain, and keep going. Even those who get injured, for the most part, heal, go through therapy, and make a come back. This shows us that even set backs, or challenges, can be overcome. Sometimes they even make us stronger, and we still succeed.
- Teamwork is important. Although it can be hard to get along with others, especially under stress, by watching the teams play or support each other we see how important it is for them to communicate well and to work together to succeed. Without that willingness to “play well together,” a team’s likelihood of achieving success decreases considerably.
We also learn something from the teams that lose or the athletes who lose.
The athletes don’t give up; they come back next year and try again. They also feel disappointed, but some of the athletes are not afraid to show their emotions. Yet most do not show themselves as bad sports. So we learn about good sportsmanship.
Sporting events also give us the chance to connect with others. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’ve joined with others for a “cause”—to root for others’ success—especially the success of those who represent your country. And their success gives you a sense of hopefulness that you, too, can succeed.
With the Olympics over, it's important to carry that spirit forward and to remember the lessons learned. They are useful and can keep us inspired as we move toward our own goals, whether they are athletic, entrepreneurial or personal.