Sunday, August 24, 2008
I just finished watching the Olympic closing ceremony. I feel warm and proud, of my country, the athletes, the Chinese and the world. Some reports say that 4 billion people watched some part of the 17 days of competitions/performances, so the world should be filled with this afterglow. I was at a bar in Boston for my friend's birthday the night that Phelps was racing for his 8th gold medal. Anyone outside of that bar would have been sure that the Red Sox were on, and had just completed an amazing play. At no other time is there so much energy and intent focus on the television in Boston. Yet, a large group of people were cheering at the top of their lungs, for swimming! A set of American themed songs played while we cheered and gaped and sang along, stopping occasionally to marvel that we were doing all of this for swimming. Somehow human kind needs to use this energy for progress. Beijing did amazing things to reduce pollution when athletes were about to convene there. The world stood up and spoke up about humanitarian causes and got coverage because they seemed relevant. We need to seem relevant all the time, and care about the air everyone is breathing, not just the marathon runners. How?