Sentimental foolery

So I’ve had the TV on this morning tuned to the Olympics while I’ve gone about my business, then the big swimming races come on and I feel my heart beat faster and an unwilling anticipation creep over me. I’m too cool for this, yet I sit down and keenly watch as they dive off the blocks and the race progresses, the commentators urging things along, the crowd cheering, the ebbs and flows of the race and I’m thinking, do it, do it, and sure enough, they do it, and despite everything I feel a warmth fill me. They did it!

Then there’s the medal presentations and you look into those happy, clean-cut faces, and for me at least I think of their proud families and I feel myself swayed by it like a sentimental fool. The anthem begins and I mouth along to it, feeling my eyes water with an undeserved pride, but so glad and happy too. And then I think, right about now mum would be calling me, did you see that? Wasn’t it fantastic? mum would bubble. And now my eyes glisten for myself because that call never came.

That’s been this morning. A win by Mack Horton in a great 400m race, then one for the women, the 4 x 100m relay that Australia was red-hot favourites for, and who won it going away in a world record time. It was beautiful to see the two Campbell sisters celebrate. Later in the meet that probably go gold and silver in the individual event. Today they’re just happy for each other and this moment they could share. To watch Bronte give Cate a sly, unself-conscious peck of affection was a moment of pure grace.

I wrote earlier about Olympic ideals. Well, these are human ideals – good people striving, from any nation, to be their best selves, and the joy and love that comes with it. It’s heartwarming and inspiring, and maybe today I am just a sentimental fool, and possibly for the next 2 weeks to come.

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