Medal winners and... fans
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The radio and television broadcasts from the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010 are over. Our sports emotions have calmed down. However, I want to refer to our joy at the three medals of Justyna Kowalczyk. We especially watched the last 30 km run of our sportswoman. We saw her determination, strength, both physical and spiritual, the power of her character that let her win. Our medal winner, including the gold Olympic medal, in numerous competitions was born in the mountains and she has undertaken long and hard work in winter sports. We should also know that such sportsmen have wonderful fans. Therefore, there are as if two fields of this sports ‘activity’: outstanding players and fans. The former include Justyna Kowalczyk, Adam Malysz and the women’s team in speed skating as well as a group of eminent sportsmen including those who have finished their careers and look at their lives and achievements from some perspective. The latter include their wonderful fans that enjoy good sports competitions, experience our national anthem and the moment when Poland’s name is admired by the whole sports world. Then the highest patriotic feelings are evoked; people cry, applaud and behave unconventionally, which we could observe during the last Olympic Winter Games.
One should admire the great power of Justyna Kowalczyk’s character. In some sense we deal with physical vigour, strong legs and hands, technical skills but it is known that the contribution of the psychological-spiritual sphere and of course, hours of training: running, downhill ride and exercises, is very important. St Paul speaks about this extraordinary ‘race to the finish’ in 2 Timothy 4:7-8. The verses concern every Christian, all of us. We should do our best to take the best position in the race concerning the love of God and man in order to speak about Christian fulfilment.
But one should also pay attention to the secondary group – fans that sometimes cover hundreds of kilometres to reach the stadium, to support sportsmen, to applaud, to build the atmosphere of friendship, which competitors need very much so that they did not feel alone but were convinced that it was worth taking the efforts. And again I think about those among us that support the bigger in faith well, sometimes they only react to their words, gospel message or recommendations. Although they are only ‘fans’ they truly contribute to the growth of faith and good. However, many of us do not care about that and we neither grow ourselves nor let others have the chance.
Returning to sport: we all are happy and edified when Poles give the best testimony about their Homeland and culture. Sportsmen decide to take enormous efforts. And fans cannot be satisfied with only supporting them. They must try to ‘feel’ what players do; must help them make choices. Of course, fans must be up to the mark; must know they represent certain values; should not be satisfied with cheering and their behaviours cannot overcome the social norm. Sportsmen need recipients who are spiritually close to them. The Polish sportsmen who won in the last Olympic Winter Games have brought glory to the Polish nation. Their names will always be associated with great achievements, diligence and intelligence. I think we can be also proud of the Polish fans.
We thank our gold medal winner Justyna Kowalczyk and others who have wonderful achievements, for their struggle for fame and that they made us, in Poland and all over the world, very happy. We wholeheartedly congratulate them on their firmness, endurance and diligence without which one cannot win. And we wish them and Poland as best fans as possible; we wish we had fans accompanying sportsmen in the worthy, responsible and serious way so that Poland’s name would be made famous in the whole world and we wish the sports competitions were always healthy and fair.
We entrust our Homeland, our sportsmen and fans to the merciful love of Heavenly Father...