Do you remember the Melbourne Olympics? For Australians, this was the birth of television. My family actually got to see the Olympics in our own lounge room. My parents bought an Admiral 21" television set just to watch the Olympic games. We were glued to the T.V. set, and when it broke down in the middle of the games, the whole family went into crisis mode. The television must be repaired immediately, and so it was. The service department wouldn't dare do otherwise. I was so taken up by the games that I saved up my pocket-money and sent off for a souvenir pictorial record produced by the Telegraph Newspaper. I read every word and studied every picture. My heroine was Betty Cuthbert, but then I think everyone claimed her as their own.
No games have ever touched me as much as the Melbourne Olympics did. I suppose it was our games and I was at that rather impressionable age. With the Olympics these days I can actually leave the television and turn it off. Watching the highlights is usually enough for me.
I have to say, the old enthusiasm did come back again while watching the woman's marathon during a recent Olympics. What a race! I am not right up on the details so you can correct me, but I think it is 40k long and takes about two hours to run. They run at about a 6 minute mile pace. When I was running, the 4 minute mile had just been broken, so a 6 minute mile pace is quite something. I could never handle distance runs. The body just ran out of gas, so watching those women push on relentlessly was quite moving. The Ethiopian girls are splendid, aren't they?
The Christian life is best lived with a focus on the prize - "a crown that will last forever", not just a medal bound to tarnish. The present, the struggle, the race... is sharpened when we keep an eye on eternity. "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly." "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize", 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.