By Edith Morgan
The grass is turning brown ahead of time, and my tomato plants, few as they are, have pretty much given up, drying up and drooping. We are trying to obey the City of Worcester’s water restrictions, watering after the sun has set and using a watering can where possible. Luckily, it rained steadily Wednesday night, so things are looking a bit more alive.
But now we face another several days of heat and humidity. But we are lucky: this old house stays cool even in the most extreme heat – the nine-foot ceilings trap the hot air above our heads, and the big old ceiling fan moves the air around enough to give us the illusion of wind!
This is a good time to relax and enjoy watching the Olympics, which will be going on into next week. Perhaps it is our imagination, but does it feel a little cooler to watch swimmers in that cool, clear water?!
At any rate, we are quite comfortably ensconced on our living room couch, watching the contests. And they are inspirational: There is a wonderful sense of the struggles and dedication displayed by the athletes, and we have been happy to see how many young people are watching and are inspired to put forth the supreme effort that our athletes are displaying.
What has impressed me especially are the behind-the-scenes stories – especially of the struggles that the champions undertook to reach the Olympics. Watching swimming and gymnastics and listening to the tremendous effort and persistence displayed by the winners can’t help but be inspiring to many of the young people watching. Hopefully, they feel that they too can achieve the kind of perfection the champions display!
Of course, it is not just determination that gets them there. So often there is the good fortune of being noticed by someone who not only recognizes special talent but nurtures it and puts a young person in touch with a coach, teacher or other form of help and inspiration.
Those of us who are teachers know how often we have spotted a special spark in one of our students and gone out of our way to encourage it, point it out to parents or others who can nurture it and pass the word. With the start of another school year just ahead, those who are still teaching have the opportunity once again to spot the hidden gifts in many of our students. But just finding it is not enough. There has to be that determination to learn, practice and, above all, persevere.
And so we sit here and enjoy the achievements of these young people, cheer them on, and marvel at what the human body can do with training and exercise.
One thing has struck me in particular: so many years ago, Olympics seemed to be pretty much dominated by men. But as I watched the gymnasts, the beach volleyball teams, the swimmers, the wrestlers and who knows what sports are still to come – amazing girls and women are winning gold medals, where several years ago they were not even in the running.
And, of course, the obvious ethnic mixes of the champions are evidence that real champions come in all colors and sizes!