Yes, I have totally gone off the tracks with my Songs of the Show Boat series. I will get back to the songs because I enjoy the memories they evoke, but I researched a couple of blackface vaudevillians who were regulars on the radio show and I was uncomfortable about these two characters of Molasses and January and their connection to De Camptown Races by Stephen Foster. The thing is I remembered “talent” shows in the small rural East Texas town where I grew up and recalled the popular blackface performers in the school auditorium and then I cringed and then I was horrified and then I gave up on trying to write about these two guys entirely. Call me a coward.
Never underestimate the heart of a champion is a phrase I heard this week from an NBC Olympic commentator, but for the rest of us mortals the struggle for courage is ongoing and asks us to stand up not once, not twice, not every four years – but each time we encounter prejudice and wrongdoing in any form for as long as we live. The insidious nature of wrongs against each other requires our constant vigilance lest we give in to letting the voices of hate rant and rave around us without a word of protest.
Faith, focus, finish. These words are the training mantra for Manteo Mitchell from Cullowhee, North Carolina who broke his leg while running in the first leg of the men’s 4×400 meter relay preliminaries today in London. He continued to run for the half a lap he had to finish after he felt the break. I found this to be a remarkable effort regardless of how we define faith, but how do we sustain our focus and finish a race that lasts a lifetime instead of a lap?
As you can see, I’ve watched too many Games of the XXX Olympiad for the last two weeks and the stories of the athletes inspire me and always remind me of the power of humans to overcome incredible adversity to go for the gold. The theater for us won’t be as spectacular as the London games. As a matter of fact, we may be at the grocery store or tailgating with friends before a football game this fall or maybe choosing a place to go for a chikin’ sandwich. Regardless, it’s our chance to make a difference that is as game-changing as the gold medal is for the athletes who win in London this summer. Game on.