The Olympics invite us to come together
By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector
Monday, February 12, 2018
As we watch the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, we have an incredible opportunity as a nation to come together and for the next two weeks set aside our differences to focus on what makes our nation great.
We will hear stories of athletes who overcame tremendous challenges on the road to becoming Olympians, a feat achieved by very few. And while they are thousands of miles away from us, we can don our red, white and blue, wave our little American flags and call over friends to join us as we cheer for the good ole’ USA.
This should be a happy occasion of viewing parties with friends and families over warm food and conversations, a chance to have healthy competition as we proudly remember how great it to feels to be an American and to live in this great land of opportunity that was made for you and me. The occasion will offer a stark contrast to worrying about our government shutting down, about paying the bills, about whether the kids are going to make it to bed on time.
Let’s worry about cheering for the home team and rooting on those who have traveled thousands of miles to represent our homeland. As they compete with thousands from around the world, may we share in their stories of courage and find new hope for our precarious situations and scream to the top of our lungs, jump up and down and keep the neighbors up as our athletes go for the gold.
The Olympics comes and goes, and if we’re not careful, we will likely miss the opportunity to unite with one another.
Regardless of race and gender, nationality, religion and socio-economic status, athletes will come together for a common purpose: To represent their country on the grandest stage of them all. May we also come together for a common purpose: Proudly representing our country while also remembering that our country belongs to all of us.
We are all immigrants and every American has a story to share. We have our own unique identities and racial and socio-economic backgrounds that make us truly unique. Likewise, many of the eager athletes competing are just like us. They are people who have learned to embrace who they are. Our nation is called the “melting pot” for a reason, and regardless of who we are, America must remain a microcosm where people are free to be individuals and not assimilated sheep.
When we see people of different races and nationalities, hear other languages, witness other customs, essentially, we are looking at America in the mirror. It is our diversity that makes us truly American, and everyone has a story to share with us if we are willing to open our hearts and listen.
The entire world invites us to come together at the table of brotherhood and to wine and dine with those who are different from us, even our poor brothers and sisters who have never tasted good ole’ eastern North Carolina barbecue or have never experienced the thrill of life in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on game day.
Tonight affords us an opportunity to come together as a nation and as an international community. And in sharing our love for sports, hopefully, we can have meaningful conversations and build friendships here at home and mend some old wounds left over from a bitter election that seemed to do nothing but destroy friendships and marriages.
We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, a nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Well, that’s what we claim. So, over the next two weeks, perhaps we should act like it and focus on making sure that we embrace one another and celebrate what makes each of us unique as our athletes work to do the same thing as they make lasting friendships with total strangers and become champions who are bringing back something other than the gold.
Tyler Stocks is a reporter for The Daily Reflector. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and 329-9566.