When I was asked by BRUTE to write a blog, I had some hesitation. We just started the school year here at Oklahoma State University and time was of the essence. Then I found out it came with a one week deadline and I really had reservation. Yet after visiting with one of our wrestlers who just returned from an international competition I found inspiration. I realized that I did not have to write an entry. I only had to convey in words the passion he feels for being the best.
The entry was supposed to be titled, “ How people can get engaged in the Olympic movement”. Immediately the coach and father within me, realized that “Why” should proceed “How”. I’ve shown my children how to brush their teeth, but it takes a cavity filling or pulled tooth to understand exactly why it is needed. I have explained how to make weight properly, however sometimes it takes an under whelming performance for an athlete to embrace why they must exhibit discipline in their diet. With that said, answering why we should all engage in the Olympic movement, is a great tale. Then the how portion, will not seem like such a journey.
Olympism is a way of life. It is the promotion of a balanced body and mind. It marries sport with education and culture. It emphasizes the joys of effort, not the burden of result. Olympism gives us hope. It teaches us to strive for excellence. It requires that we demonstrate respect, all while celebrating friendship.
The Olympic movement takes us all back to a simpler time. Our modern society has our time and attention spread thinly amongst the many different requirements that it tells us in which we need to be engaged. When you walk into an Olympic level competition, domestic or international, an Olympic regional training site or one of our countries Olympic Sports Training centers something amazing happens. Life becomes simple again.
You enter the confines of those walls and are instantly surrounded by positive, motivated individuals whose focus is giving all they have that day, whether it be competition or practice, to be the best in the world at their chosen discipline. Upon gaining Olympic berth, ascertaining an Olympic medal or even when falling short. We do not hear thank yous given to the social media apps on our smart phones, the breaking news updates to our emails, nor do we learn about what happened on the last episode of a reality TV show. We DO hear many thank yous extended to coaches, family, friends, mentors and support systems. The Olympic movement promotes healthy relationships.
On these occasions, credit is never given to extra hours up late playing video games or surfing the web. There is no credit given to petty drama. We DO learn that rising up early, staying late, altering what had previously not worked, embracing the tough times, staying positive, time management and learning to receive criticism were part of these individuals Olympic journey. The Olympic movement promotes great life skills.
We are naturally drawn to these characteristics. Whether we have ever engaged in sport or not, we all want to be around those who strive. Even more so we know it is paramount that the generations to come gather these lessons and bear the fruit that comes from their implementation… in or out of the sporting arena. We should engage in the Olympic movement because it teaches the young and reminds us old, of what striving looks and feels like.
Now on to how…
- Attend an Olympic level practice or competition. There are regional training sites scattered all over our country. If you have a child is in sports nothing could be more inspiring.
- Grassroots involvement: Volunteer. Coach a youth club, referee a high school wrestling or club tournament, volunteer at a competition in your area, it takes a village to raise an Olympic hopeful.
- Every June there is an Olympic Day celebration. In 2012, 200,000 people participated in Olympic Day in 529 communities around the country. Olympians visited schools, hospitals, sporting events, community centers, car dealerships etc.., all volunteering their time to support your community.
- Contact the USOA via www.teamusa.org under programs: There are Olympians living in every state. All of them have a story. A story of commitment, perseverance, struggle, triumph and humility. The USOA connects Olympians to communities and community events. Request one to speak at your next meeting or child’s sport club.
- Donations: Support your local team or club. Many do great things with very little resources. On a national level, wrestling’s national governing body USA Wrestling www.themat.com reinvests every dollar raised back into the sport of wrestling. Giving opportunities to age group wrestlers as well as our current Olympic wrestling hopefuls.
In the Olympic spirit,
Author: Eric Guerrero
Associate Head Coach at Oklahoma State University
3x NCAA Champion, 4x US Open Champion, 2004 Olympian