Monday, February 24, 2014


This morning the world is recovering from the Winter Olympic Games, our quadrennial fling with sports madness. Who knew there were so many ways to slide down a snowy hill? 
     Slope-style skiing? Death wish, more like. And who ever dreamed up luge doubles? That piece of tinfoil isn't big enough for one person let alone two!  But for two weeks we were glued to our televisions, or smart phones or computers, holding our breath at critical moments then cheering wildly when our team scored.  
      Couch potatoes became instant experts on the run-back double, the quad toe, or the 1080.  (I had to do the math to figure that one out.  In figure skating it's called a triple.)  
     Every coffee shop and grocery store buzzed with news from Sochi.  What were the final medal standings?  How about that last goal?  100ths of a second nine time zones away from home, mattered deeply.
    And good for us!  The Olympics give us a great lesson in empathy. We give our hearts to the athletes that represent our country.  We ache when they fall, we're ecstatic when they win. But we can applaud a wonderful performance from a rival too.  As a Canadian I'm as proud of the speed skater gave up his place to a team mate, or the coach who supplied a fresh ski to a struggling competitor, as I am of the athletes who stood on top of the podium. 
    Such generosity of spirit embodies the Christian ideal as well. That's what makes the Olympics so special.
   Since sport is such a powerful motivator, it's hardly surprising the
apostle Paul used it so frequently as a metaphor for Christian living.  In 1 Corinthians 9:24  we are urged to run the race so we may obtain the prize.  Hebrews 12:1 exhorts us to run the race that is set before us. 1 Corinthians 9:25 speaks of training for the games.  2 Timothy 2:5 we compete as an athlete to win the crown. Philippians 3:12-14 the faithful "press on toward the goal."

    The Olympic motto is "faster -- higher -stronger." Perhaps the Christian motto could be "braver -- purer-- kinder." Like the athlete trains his mind and body for his sport, the Christian trains his heart and mind and spirit for service to God and others.

    Go, Team, Go!   Go, Christian, Go!

Alice Valdal is not a sports fan, but once every four years she loses her mind to Olympic fever.  She begins therapy today.
To learn about her writing, and see her books, check out 


  1. I like your motto: braver, purer, kinder. Ah that we would model it!

  2. Alice,

    I just love this! You have it exactly right.
    Where do I sign up for the training camp of the Braver, Purer, Kinder team?

    1. I think "team" is a key word. Olympians don't get there on their own and the Christian needs the same kind of team support. This blog is one place to find it.

  3. Love the concept of the Christian Olympiads! Go, Christians, Go!

  4. Hi Alice, Great post! I love your team concept of supporting each other :)

  5. So true, Alice. It's great to belong to writing & blogging groups who may be the only ones who really understand writers! And best of all, the Lord who gives us the perseverance to keep going in our Christian walk.

  6. I've been traveling and without any television and very little internet and am so sad to have missed this years Olympics. But I love your connection to our Christian life. What a great reminder that we need to be a team!