Written by: Katrina M. Smith, MBA
Date: August 21, 2012
Traditionally, once every four years, track & field opens its doors to the world and welcomes the masses to experience the splendor of athletics. The world feverish with Olympic excitement waits anxiously for the unveiling of the world’s best. Curiosity elevates. Questions circulate. Who’s competing? Who will win? Will records be broken? Suddenly the theater lights dim and darkness falls to silence the crowd. The curtain opens and the crowd bursts with great cheer and applause. Nine spotlights illuminate a grand stage highlighting a track, long & triple jump runway and pit, pole vault, high jump, shot put, javelin, hammer throw, discus, and steeplechase barrier. Seconds later athletes representing each skill step forth waving, acknowledging the crowd. The excitement of the crowd intensifies. Decibel levels rise to astronomical heights like thunder roaring among the skies. As athletes perform their respective skills, the world watches in awe over this awesome display of skill and talent energizing the stage. Through each act, athletes compete mercilessly to eliminate their opponents one by one. Round after round they fight in a most epic drama filled with the tragedy of broken dreams and the romanticism of heroic feats achieved. Until finally, a victor is decided. Spectators sit nervously as they grab the edge of their seats to discover who crossed the finish line first, who threw the farthest, who jumped the longest and highest, and who vaulted the best. An official raises his white flag. Results pages fly across the field to reach the hands of an announcer. Over a loudspeaker, a crier calls the first, second, and third place finishers of each event. The stadium erupts with shouts of both triumph and uproar. Though the audience reaction is mixed, somehow everyone in the theater still manages to rise in standing ovation. For their valiant efforts, are brought center stage atop a podium to be awarded their medals of gold, silver, and bronze. Wrapped in their nation’s flag, they wave at the crowd one last time to thank them for their support. The spectators respond with sincerity and gratitude through applause as if to say, “No, athlete. Thank you for allowing us to be part of this experience.” The curtain closes and the theater lights are turned back on to usher out the crowd. Once the final spectator leaves, track & field closes its doors. As spectators look behind them hoping to catch a glimpse of an athlete possibly walking by, they see a poster mounted on the door. It reads: Will not open for another four years. The spectator drops his head. The world shrugs. It was fun while it lasted. Perhaps one day track & field will let us stay for good. Football anyone?