Olympic dreams may be deferred
For some of us who look forward to the Winter Olympics, it could be said, as the opening lines to Tale of Two Cities claim, " It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
It is the best of times because the games for which we have waited for quite a while will soon be upon us. It is the worst of times because the shape which those games will take remains to be seen.
The swing factor, of course, is the chaos happening in Russia, as our country and perhaps Canada, and who knows what other countries, may or may not be present for the games.
Disappointed fans in countries that choose not to participate, and a real skewing of the odds, could result. Obviously, for example, the refusal of a team from the Scandinavian countries to send its Nordic skiers or of China to send its figure skaters would greatly rearrange the playing field.
Equal to that would be the impact on the athletes. A committed athlete might treasure the medal measurably less, if he or she knew that it hadn't really, necessarily, been won against the best of the best of the best.
Which brings up the real heartache of the matter, which never should have become a matter at all, in an ideal world. Place yourself in the position of a young athlete, who has actually lived out his or her dream and qualified to go to the Olympics for one's nation.
You are fairly sure that this will be your one shot; we hear much about the chosen few who get to compete more than once, but the stark truth is, a majority of Olympic athletes get one shot, and count themselves lucky for that.
Then comes down the word that, because of internal conditions, lack of control by a government, or some factor which probably doesn't even interest you as a young adult, your country has decided not to send its delegation.
Of course you don't want to die thousands of miles from home in Russia; everyone gets that. But neither do you want to give up something which you have worked toward.
Langston Hughes wrote a poem called A Dream Deferred. The poem addresses the far more serious subject of racial discrimination; nonetheless, the title seems apt.
The outcome, of course, has yet to be determined and is a changing scenario. Unfortunately, as someone who lived out his childhood in the Cold War era, it is tempting to conjecture, just what do you expect when we allow the games to be held , well, you know where.
That really doesn't address the central issue, though. Hopefully, some sort of arrangement will be made that protects the athletes, brings the tourism and income to an area that doubtless could benefit from it, and honors the spirit of international fellowship and unity which the games represent.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at: