Personal best.

Today the 32nd Olympiad began in Tokyo.

As usual, I did my rounds at the sports center minutes away.  I’ve written about it before.  Usually there are very few of us doing the circuit; sometimes I’m alone.  Sometimes I pass someone else; other times, someone passes me.  I do 11 rounds at a brisk walk; some struggle to do one round; others work up a sweat.

The sports center, Woodbury MN June 18, 2021

This particular week our space was invaded quite frequently.

Yesterday a tyke got a soccer ball into a net – I guesstimated that the ball he was maneuvering was a third his height.  Another day a few aspiring “Charles Atlas” kids were working out outside the orthopedic clinic which is in one corner.  I mused that they’re training to be future patients of an orthopedist.  In mid-field for a couple of days a bunch of enthusiastic middle schoolers were doing some group learning; as I passed by, one of them had been reduced to tears for some unknown reason.

For each of us, this space was our own Olympic Stadium – a place where we strive to maintain or improve some kind of personal best, or teamwork, as the case might be.

Of course, other things swirl around us.  The Olympiad itself was uncertain due to Covid-19.  It looks like the crowds will be whoever watches on TV around the world.  No on-site crowd will doubtless impact on performance.

Outside, this week there’s been a haze attributed to raging fires out west, causing respiratory distress.  A summer drought and unusually hot weather (and terrible floods in parts of Europe) are reminders from Mother Earth to not take things for granted.

Monday at my coffee place I was chatting with the server about the Covid-19 variant now stalking us, and what it might mean longer term.  She appeared to be early 20s at most – perhaps a college student.  “It’s an interesting season of life” she said.  A pithy sound bite.

This era most certainly is, and has been, “an interesting season” for young people especially.  September 11, 2021 will be the 20th birthday of 9-11-01, and everyone 20 years or younger will have lived their entire life thus far between 9-11 and Covid-19 and everything between.

Todays youngsters are not the first generation afflicted by difficult times.  Their future, nonetheless, seems somewhat less assured than for previous generations for all sorts of reasons.

Our “Personal Best”, it seems to me, will be to help protect this resource that is our earth.  This is all we have – no moon shot will save us.

All best to the athletes in Tokyo.  All best to all of us, everywhere.

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