I love the Olympics. Summer. Winter. It doesn't matter. There's something about the unity that comes when dozens of nations come together in one location, all with eyes on one prize. And as I watched countless hours of sporting events on ice and snow, I learned some things.
1. I'm a sucker for the medal ceremonies. Any country. Any National Anthem. I love to see the pride in someone's face when they see their flag lifted above their heads.
2. Every time I see a child singing his or her National Anthem, I get all sappy and teary-eyed. Never fails.
3. Curling is the strangest sport. Ever.
4. It doesn't matter if you train for 4 years, pour hours and hours into perfecting a skill if you disqualify yourself in the first 8 seconds out of the starting block.
5. Sometimes, going to the Olympics isn't all about the medals. Sometimes it's not about hearing the announcers say your name. (They may not pronounce it right even if they DO say it.) Sometimes it's about the journey. And the experience gained. And doing your personal best.
6. I can't tell you how many times I saw someone competing in a distance event on skis or skates who appeared to have their victory sealed, only to lose it in the final seconds. Fatigue, perhaps. Who knows? But what a reminder to us that it's about the race from beginning to end. Not just beginning to "when we think we have it all figured out" or "when we feel we've worked hard enough."
7. Hockey is pretty fun to watch. Even when you know nothing about it.
Sometimes I like to imagine what it would be like to fly down a mountain like Lindsay Vonn, or flip around with my feet strapped to a board like Shaun White. But I feel as though I would not come home in one piece. Just sayin'.