Michael Phelps will no doubt garner much of the attention at Rio, given his rather amazing record in the last three cycles, though a kayaker capsizing because of a submerged sofa in the water may give him a run for it. Beyond such traditional events as swimming, tennis, basketball and track and field, however, if beach volleyball, ping-pong, and rifle shooting can be official sports of the summer games, it doesn’t seem like a far stretch to suggest a couple of other activities in which some of the rest of us might be able to compete as well.
Jumping to conclusions, for instance, could easily draw a healthy field of tough competitors, each of whom could be judged on how wildly and quickly they can come up with a ridiculous assumption based upon only minimal information, with extra points awarded for each additional person whom they convince to share their unfounded beliefs.
Likewise, shot-putters might be able to double-medal by entering an Olympic competition in casting the first stone, a favorite activity of many whose main intention is to condemn first and love later. For here the judges could actually judge judging, watching carefully for signs of unrighteous indignation and hypocrisy among the competitors, some of whom might also wish to enter another new Olympic activity, throwing your weight around. Then there’s always such perennial favorites as carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, climbing the walls at work, and bending over backwards.
On the other hand, the truth is that though there is seldom any recognition for most of the things we may do in our lives, just doing them faithfully and consistently sometimes requires Olympian-sized efforts indeed. Which is perhaps why one of the most encouraging words in all the scriptures is that which a coach named Paul once told his young protégé: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—but not only to me, but to all who have longed for His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4.6-8).
Keep on going, thus, my friends. For even if your name never crosses the lips of Bob Costas, the One who matters still has His eyes on you. And in Heaven, they tell us, even the streets are paved with gold.