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Now that the Olympics are over, I'll admit that I didn't watch much of them. But years from now, what I'll remember, besides the impact of COVID-19, will be gymnast Simone Biles removing herself from competition because of a mental health issue. Obviously, it was totally unexpected and sad, yet so inspiring as people – from other athletes to fans to broadcasters to celebrities – rallied behind her.


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When she came back to win the bronze medal on the balance beam, she explained how it meant "more than all the golds." I believe that looking back, she may find that this was her most important and far-reaching Olympics, as she not only shone a light on the importance of mental health, but she changed the narrative making it ok to not be ok.


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Absolutely. But I also loved seeing the various clips of her cheering on her teammates and even congratulating competitors. The other thing I'll remember is that story you sent me about the two high jumpers who were tied for gold when the bar was raised to the Olympics-record height, although neither of them made it. They were going to decide the winner with a jump-off until one of them asked if they could have two golds.


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Apparently, they are friends on and off the track, but the spirit of sportsmanship surpassed even friendship in this case. At the risk of sounding warm and fuzzy, which is your area of responsibility, that is one of many stories about athletes helping one another, celebrating with each other, showing kindness towards each other, even in the face of disappointment.


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It reminds me of why I loved watching the Olympics when I was growing up – the love and joy of sports where winning was the ultimate goal but not to the point where it overshadowed everything.


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I think for many, if not most, athletes, that is probably the way they still feel. Or, if you were to watch the Olympics via TikTok (some great stories and links), you would see the "human" or what you refer to as the "mere mortal" aspects of the Olympics. Unfortunately, from a bigger perspective, the Olympics has "succumbed" (for lack of a better word) over time to outside forces as it became a big business, influenced by politics, and the controversy of performance-enhancing drugs.


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Please save that for another day. I don't mind talking about the history of the Olympics dating back thousands of years, but if we're talking about modern times, I prefer to focus on "feel good" stories. I always have. Even when I watched it as a kid, one of my favorite parts of the telecast was all the athlete profiles.


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It is the power of stories. And the fact they are not only world champion athletes – they are people. The stories and profiles can be inspirational because it shows they are more than just skills, it shows the humanity, the hard work, the dedication. And, oftentimes, the trade-offs and disappointments.


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I know that over the decades, there have been so many inspiring Olympic moments, but the most memorable, at least for me, are the personal ones about the athletes. And this year, my biggest "take-away" will be Simone Biles and her extraordinary achievement in coming back to win the bronze. She showed you should never count someone out, especially if they not only have unfathomable athletic skills but the heart and commitment to facing challenges head-on and overcoming them, even when those challenges are deep within themselves.


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And that, to me, is the essence of the Olympics. The world records and medal counts may be easier to track, but it is the impact and ripple effect of the athletes that will stay with us once the games are over.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Quick! Define literacy (without Google or Siri's help). Ok, finished? We bet that you may have stopped at the ability to read and write. Which, technically, isn't wrong. It just isn't completely right, either. Which is what Red found out when she discovered, much to her surprise, that it includes such critical areas as financial, digital, and health literacy.

Red even admitted to Black that she didn't understand all those terms, although she had another concern … was Black going to use her as a poster child for her lack of literacy skills in this month's column, "RED & BLACK … A Blueprint For Life?!"

P.S. – This month's column is in honor of September being Adult & Family Literacy Month.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Underlying photo by mphillips007 on iStock


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I can't believe how quickly the year's flying by. And that tomorrow's already the fall equinox.


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I cannot believe that you know that but did not know when Rosh Hashanah fell this year.


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I got the dates mixed up. And I'll admit I had to look up the fall equinox date because it also varies slightly from year to year.


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Technically, the equinox is not a day, but rather an exact moment – when the Sun crosses the Equator.


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Picky, picky, picky. But if I remember correctly, although science class was decades ago, on the equinox, we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime.


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Not exactly, but close enough. But, why are we even talking about this?
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Initially, I just chalked this up to being "old" and accepting the fact I remember telephones before they were "smart" (and will admit they can make me feel "less-than-smart"). I am old enough to remember rotary dial phones (see the image above) where you had to place a finger in the hole associated with the number, then rotate the dial round to the end-stop and let the dial return under its own power. I will not go into the science behind it, but it was extremely reliable – although very hard on your manicure.

But, this is not about the history of telephones or the associated technology that has improved to the point computers that once required a large, air-conditioned room can now fit in your back pocket or handbag. This is not about us all (regardless of age) needing to be digitally literate. It is not about the fact the older we are, the larger the screen size we prefer, although we might claim it is a function of what we are used to versus admitting to declining vision as we age.

Rather, this is about a recent experience that first made me feel old. Then roll my eyes. And then open my eyes to an opportunity.

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