It is always interesting to meet new people and learn about the things they have done or the places that they have gone.
This year I had the opportunity to meet someone who had been chosen to be on the Olympic Swim Team. I’ve always admired those athletes who were more talented than I and who put in the time and effort to develop their talents.
Susan was a swimmer. She had a goal to make the Olympic Team. She almost succeeded in being chosen for the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
For the next four years she spent hours in the pool swimming to improve her personal times. Her hard work paid off and she achieved her goal of being on the Olympic Swim Team. Unfortunately, the year was 1980. The Games were to be held in the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. President Jimmy Carter called for a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Sixty other nations joined the boycott.
I remember when that happened, and I wondered how those athletes could overcome the disappointment of not competing.
Susan said that she was so disappointed and that there was nothing to do but go home. She said she only recovered from her disappointment because of the support she received from her family and friends. She showed no signs of bitterness and said she has had a good life and the experience of being part of an Olympic Team was wonderful, even if they never made it to the games. But she also added that while she likes watching the coverage of the Olympics, she can’t watch the event for which she qualified.
Susan was in her late teens in 1980 and I have been thinking of all those young people starting a new year in high school and college. Some years are harder than others and I hope their family and friends support them if the year proves difficult.
Additional information on some of the swimmers on the 1980 Olympic Team can be found in the article “What a Waste: How the Moscow Olympics Boycott Unnecessarily Crushed Dreams” at swimmingworldmagazine.com.
Final thoughts… Many of my columns over the past few years have featured my experiences related to individuals serving in the Armed Forces. Ever since our sons have been serving in the Navy, I’ve been a regular visitor to www.whitehouse.gov where I stay in touch with statements made in the White House Briefing Room, especially comments regarding members of the Individual Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces and possible calls to Active Duty (Note link to July 13, 2023.)
I hope PN readers will do the same.
Reservists always are planning for the near future, ready to serve. Will they be called up for Active Duty? I hope they and their families receive the support they need over the next months, and I pray that leaders find a way to end the conflicts that are happening around the world.