Nothing brings us together like the Olympic Games
There is something insanely and addictively beautiful about the Olympic games. For those of us not directly involved as athletes, as administrators or as organizers, we might never truly grasp what is involved in getting ready for the biggest sporting event on earth.
But the moment it begins, our energy levels rise, our expectations grow, our sense of national pride balloons. We are glued to the coverage, we identify with our heroes and we cheer for them.
And even when Akela Jones places 20th in the heptathlon, we feel good about her effort and we will her onto better things in four years time.
No one can truly explain the sense of pride we felt as we watched Ramon Gittens stride across our television screens holding the Barbados flag high at the opening of the Games. The lumps in our throats and the glint in our eyes were signs of the lifting of our spirits and the soothing of our souls during these very brief moments. Sometimes we wish it could go on for just a little bit longer, but the feeling lasts forever.
During the Games we find ourselves feeling astonishingly good about ourselves; inspired by Jamaican Usain Bolt and his magnificent seventh Olympic title when he won gold in the 100 metres sprint last night. We eagerly anticipate his next race and his next. We want him to win the ‘treble treble’. Track and field needs Bolt to do well, but we too need him to do well, for ourselves, for our country.
We feel inspired by Bahamian Shaunae Miller throwing herself to the ground to win the 400 metres. We feel proud, motivated, enthused when any of our Caribbean heroes makes it to the podium.
Somehow, these Games have brought us as a country and a region together unconditionally like nothing else does. Yes, there is cricket, but it has the tendency to tear us apart as much as it binds us together.
The current ugly episode surrounding Courtney Browne’s 30-second sacking of West Indies double World Cup winning T20 captain Darren Sammy, Browne’s less-than-acceptable explanation and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves less-than-savoury intervention emphasize how cricket rends our hearts and our togetherness.
But there is none of this with the Olympic Games. We all cheer each other, we all celebrate each other’s successes and applaud even when there are no medals. These Games put things in such perspective, that we also forget, if only for a little while, the things that irk and trouble us.
Therefore, while we are glued to the Olympics tomorrow, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler will present the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals. The Opposition Barbados Labour Party has warned that we should expect more taxes. We will take note because we know we cannot afford to pay anymore taxes. However, we can always fall back on the Olympics.After all, what else is there at the moment?