August 09, 2016
President Barak Obama took a moment to talk to David Feherty host of the Golf Channel about the larger value of the Olympic spirit for athletes and fans around the world.
“The Olympic ideal of every country sending its best men and women to compete in a spirit of good will; it’s not going to end war it’s not going to eliminate poverty or some of the tragedies that we see every day but it builds a sense of common humanity, it builds a sense of empathy. One of the great things about the Olympics and the Olympic coverage is the way the producers do back stories of the athletes so that we can really see them as they transport us to another place. It’s good for we American’s who live in such a big country, to experience that kind of empathy, that sense of healthy competition which can carry over beyond the Olympics. “
Mr. Obama then went on to confess that if he had had his Olympic fantasy come true he would like to have been a sprinter; the fastest man in the world.
Fast or slow, Olympic athletes have been chosen by their country, to represent their people and what Mr. Obama and Mr. Feherty totally agree on is that all athletes are little emissaries of oxytocin. Why? 1. Oxytocin is empowering. #2. Oxytocin solidifies your sense of “self” so powerfully that you know better who you are and feel compelled to compete more as that being. Let me explain.
Oxytocin is empowering, to everyone: not only the athletes who got to Rio but those who didn’t. You know, you stay at home jocks vicariously cheering on without the slightest inclination or the talent or to devote your entire lives to some specific specialty for the singular pleasure of stepping up on a podium and crying your eyes out as your face and national anthem blasts out of a billion TV sets around the world—because of you did something faster, more accurate, longer, higher, than anyone there that day.
How does oxytocin solidify that sense of self? How does it do that? An equal opportunity executive, it does so by maintaining working operatives in every aspect of conscious and subconscious genius. I’m talking about the eyes, the ears, fingertips, nipples, nose, the gonads and when they all kick in at once; well that’s what endocrinologists call “super symmetry.” Imagine Kobe at his peak, jumping and slashing and dunking. Science has proven his ability to execute extraordinary feats centered in hyper perception underscored by a thousand sense memories calling from deep in his amygdala, deep down in his unconscious, maintaining stress, making it all look so simple and so beautiful.
The modern world is dogged with turmoil, outrage, war and evil. Olympic weeks are a welcome break from all of that. So, I would like to take a moment here to thank the mass media for going to such great lengths to bring us the back stories that evoke more oxytocin, for pushing us to set our empathy table with it. Oxytocin humanizes athletes. Win or lose, oxytocin is as sensual as it is spectacular. Thank you NBC for the great heart felt coverage, you do a great job of humanizing athletes all over the world and I personally feel a bit of a kinship to all of them even the tiny, 4’11 ft, 85 lbs Chinese gymnast girls and I am 6’2 ft tall, 190 lbs white American man.
And the opening ceremony, what a spectacle! 10,000 + athletes from motherlands across the globe parading in buoyant geometric herds of elation that eventually merged into one big joyous mob of poised eagerness. If oxytocin is friendship, Maracanã Stadium was ground central for that in the world. It was a tsunami of talent waving flags and hats and huge smiles projecting out to billions of viewers on the other side of the world watching on their cellphones, TV’s, streaming online this jubilant festival, bursting with colorful characters getting ready to fight for their dreams of at the best national victory and the very least, world attention. Couldn’t you just feel the joy of who they are?
Whether they know it or not oxytocin is the secret weapon great athletes call on for added confidence. No question. The confidence bar is set ridiculously high at the Olympic level and every athlete must have his “if then” programming trigger for cool, calm and collection, that moment when he must unflappably battle for victory.
Beginning to end, the Olympics is about human connection, real, perceived, ineffable connection. They are there because they have to be, because oxytocin is their gravitational glue, their “there, there”. It is restorative. Obama is right, the Olympics aren’t going to solve wars or world hunger or cool down the polar caps. But it does build a sense of common humanity for us Americans . . . Is there enough oxytocin to break through to a new paradigm of world empathy? Maybe, everyone needs to do their part. Let your own spirit do its part.