Patients, co-workers, friends and family were all glued to their TVs and techno devices, staying abreast of the latest Olympic events and medalists.  Even folks who aren’t otherwise rabid sports fans become transfixed by the Olympic Games. It is especially exciting when Olympic athletes hail from our own communities.  In Connecticut, for example, I’m proud to report that we boast eight Olympians at the 2012 London Summer Games.


Why do we find sporting events, in general, so fascinating?  There are a host of reasons why we are drawn to spectator sports and here are just a few.  Athletic games provide us:


  • A healthy escape from the ups and downs of life.  Daily we each face a host of challenges, be they about finances, family, career, relationships, health or other.  Focusing on these concerns 24/7 becomes overwhelming and rarely leads to a solution.  On the other hand, switching gears and focusing on a sporting event provides relief, perspective, and might even trigger, inadvertently, an unexpected solution to the concern “du jour”.

  • The chance to experience a concrete win or loss.  Much of life is gray, not black or white, so it’s refreshing to experience the clear outcomes that sporting events provide, especially at the end of an inconclusive day or week, either on the job or home front.

  • A shot of adrenaline.  On a physiological level we all love the hormonal “fix” that competitive sports give us.

  • The opportunity to root for the underdog.  This phenomenon is something people love, and is an experience that’s part of the American ethos.

  • The chance to worship heroes and search for role models.  We very much enjoy idealizing sports figures even though they often don’t live up to our superhuman expectations.


More specifically, the Olympic Games hold a unique allure for most of us in 2012. They:


  • Provide an opportunity for families to come together and root for the same team.  Despite day-to-day squabbles, when it comes to the Olympics we will likely all be cheering for the same side. Children of all ages, their parents, and families can come together, celebrate, and enjoy the competition, while being united in support of their team.

  • Bring Americans together.  At a time when our country is divided on many issues, the Olympics are something upon which Americans can generally agree, and in which they take great pride, despite color, ethnic origin, religion, sexual preference or economic status.  Even if this wonderful phenomenon lasts only a couple of weeks every four years, it reminds us that we are all one people.

  • Get us in touch with our patriotism.  There’s nothing like the welling up of emotion we experience when we hear the national anthem or watch an American Olympian receive a gold medal.  It reminds us that although our nation will always be imperfect we have much for which to be grateful.


So if you didn’t get a chance to tune in, it isn’t too late to follow your favorite athletes as their videos populate the pages of You Tube. You can even connect with many of the on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the day-to-day lives of these “regular” people now hailed by many as heroes!

The Allure of the Olympic Games

by Maud Purcell

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