Last night we witnessed history as it happened. Michael Phelps earned his 8th gold medal in one Olympic games topping the old record of Mark Spitz's seven in Munich in 1972 (yes, I am old enough to remember it clearly!). I was so impressed with his reaction. As he and his relay teammates huddled together the first words out of his mouth were, "Thanks you guys. I couldn't have done it without you!". On the medals platform he was presented with a surprise award from the presidents of the IOC and FINA in recognition of his historic accomplishment. He was genuinely touched and had tears in his eyes.
Contrast that image with the winner of the men's 100 meter run over in the track and field competition. The winner of this race is typically named "the world's fastest man". Bolt of Jamaica burst ahead of the field and broke the old world record. The thing that struck me about him happened before the race even ended. He glanced from side to side, saw he was alone, and dropped his arms as if to say, "I am so fast that I don't even have to finish the race all out...I can celebrate before I am done." Arrogant. Then he proceeded to prance around the track in a very cocky way, posing for pictures with the crowd while pointing at himself as if to say, "Look! you're on the big screen with me...Golden Boy!" Then he wrapped himself in the Jamaican flag and posed in front of the timing board by his record.
I hope all of us who have children in competitive sports can do all we can to raise our little athletes like Debbie Phelps did her son Michael. Be proud of your accomplishments but don't go around thinking that you are God's gift to sports. Don't be arrogant but rather be humble and thankful for what you and your hard work have been able to do. Remember that there is a team and a coach behind you who have worked hard and wanted your victory for you as well. They deserve your praise.
I have preached enough! I was just so struck by the contrast of the two athletes last night. It translates over into everyday life and how we treat eachother too.