As a newspaper publisher of long ago, I am continually marveling at how far the business of reporting news has come since my time in the 1700s. Once, it was the responsibility of my own humble publication in Philadelphia to share a wide variety of news stories, covering numerous different topics and concerns.
Today, here in this future world of 2014, I observe that there are countless individual newspapers, web sites, and television and radio channels available, many of which have their own unique specialties. And for a number of them, the reporting of news from the world of athletics and sports is what they have chosen as their mission.
How amazing it is to watch athletic competitions taking place on the other side of the world! This thing called the Olympics is absolutely fascinating.
Few may realize it, but I was an athlete of some renown in my day. Indeed, you may be extremely surprised to learn that unusual fact! I was not always the portly elder statesman that you may now know me as.
Ben, swimming champion
One of your present-day journalists, Mr. Jim Kaplan, a reporter for Sports Illustrated, wrote a nice little summary of my accomplishments in his story of several years ago. I was a very good swimmer (as I myself have previously recorded in this very blog, http://benfranklinexclusive.weebly.com/1/post/2013/07/ben-at-the-beach.html ), and even fancied at one time becoming a professional swimming instructor!
So my interest in this is quite well-founded. The events of Sochi have me riveted to my picture machine, that is, my television, as I watch all those various matches in Sochi.
I am not only impressed by the strength, the stamina, the grace and coordination, and, of course, the drive to compete—but also by the team spirit of these young men and women who have devoted a great deal of their lives to this admirable goal of participating in this incomparable event. All the eyes of the world are upon them (just as the world of the 1700s was focused on events in the colonies at the time of our Revolutionary War!).
Back then, we were fighting for our lives, our freedom – and today, the Olympians are striving to test their limits, to break new records, to challenge themselves physically and otherwise, and in a different sort of way, to work for world peace and unity without resorting to weapons and warfare. Through the Olympics, they are helping to lift up the good things in this world, while de-emphasizing the negatives. They are there for the glory of physical attainment, not greed or violence.
So say what you will about the unfortunate drawbacks of this particular Olympics location – the condition of hotels, stray dogs, computer hacking, and even political quarrels over human rights and gay/lesbian issues—this is still an event to be praised, and even more so, to be celebrated with all the excitement and enthusiasm we can possibly muster, for this is no small feat to bring together people from so many nations for the purpose of brotherhood (and sisterhood! I confess my tendency towards antiquated gender language from the 18th century), solidarity, cooperation, and respect and admiration, based on our simple, humble, yet extraordinarily powerful human strengths and potential.
If only I were a younger man, I might fancy myself out there in Sochi, perhaps winning a medal or two, snowboarding or skiing…
Your humble servant,