"London 2012." Just the sound of it makes a Brit proud to be a member of the host nation. Sure, it would be nice if Britain got more gold medals than anyone else, but I reckon the nation would be glad if we got just one: Andy Murray for Tennis. It would be really nice if we could bring home the cup for Wimbledon one year, but an Olympic Gold will do for now. Forgive my playful facetiousness; talk to most Brits and they'll tell you they are sportsmanlike enough to cheer for whoever is playing well. If we could, we'd be happy to adopt Roger Federer — even Bjorn Borg, if you can remember that far back. John McEnroe? Not so much.
This view of mine makes me a poor opponent. I have played goalkeeper for many soccer teams in my time, and have always had a hard time not praising the effort and finesse of the player who sent me picking the ball out of the back of the net. I enjoy playing tennis, and I like to compliment a good move coming from the other end of the court. It's just the way I like to play.
Let's take a step sideways for a moment. My family and I attend the services of several different churches, mainly because we have friends and family scattered across many miles. In another universe I imagine I could have pursued the career of Psychology, because I really enjoy people-watching, and I often have the tendency to laugh (under my breath sometimes) at the behavior of others. In any given group of church people (of all ages) there are those who find it easy to encourage and praise those who have done a good job — at whatever — or are doing the best they can. If ever there was a place where we need to be encouraged to keep on keeping on, it's here on earth. Unfortunately, there is also an equal and opposite gaggle of geezers who do very little but criticize the feeble efforts of those whom they deem unworthy of praise. It seems to me that this latter group would do well to take a leaf from the folder of this year's Olympic team.
I mean, seriously, this spirit of always knocking down others is really getting old. This attitude we expect from politicians, not from those "Bound for the Promised Land." Are we so threatened by those in the other pews that we have to constantly question their methods or blacken their motives in order to make our own look saintly? Are you so unsure of your claim to the prize, that you feel you must frown at all those on the same road heading for the podium? If so, you really shouldn't be so concerned; there's plenty of gold for all at the destination just ahead. Relax a little. There's good Biblical counsel for the praise of others. Better you do it, than they should praise themselves. At least, that's the principle laid out before those on the straight and narrow.
On a positive note, I personally believe that these kids across the water will lose nothing by showing their appreciation for the other teams. In fact, I reckon they just went a notch higher in the estimation of all things that mean anything on this planet. I suppose if you're going to err, err on the side of mercy. After all, a dead opponent can't make any improvements — right? If you want to go higher in your game, encourage your opponent to do better, and be quick to praise — not flatter — his or her best efforts. You should especially adopt this approach with your team mates — as quickly as possible — if you ever expect to get anywhere worthwhile. Oddly enough, it appears that we people are the rungs in our own ladder that leads upwards. The way we treat others is the way we can expect to be treated; so be careful how you tread on those rungs.
Just my take on it ….