Monday Musings: The Olympics-Part One: What’s it all about?

It’s all about the athletes, isn’t it?

Well, maybe it’s about the opportunity to acquire or upgrade facilities to train the athletes, which is what the games are about.

Or perhaps it is to put your country into the spotlight so that the world can see what great things you are doing for your athletes, in the new facilities, which is what the games are about.

Maybe it is to bring people from all over the world to visit your country while showcasing your corporate-sponsored and government-funded facilities, and hopefully buy a lot of t-shirts and stuffed mascots so that you can pay the bill when it finally comes due while being able to send more of your athletes—you are the host of course (is this the one perk?)—which is what the games are all about.

Is it worth the cost?

Tokyo spent $28Billion. Rio $13B. London $15B. Beijing $6.5B. Athens $3B. Sydney $5B. Atlanta $4B. Barcelona $9.5B. Do the host cities make their money back? I believe that Montreal is still paying off its “investment” from the 70s. Then there are the winter Olympics, averaging around $3B until Sochi came along and blew a whopping $22B followed by Pyeongchang with $13B.

The opening and closing ceremonies became a contest of who can put on the most elaborate spectacle with each city trying to up the game. Part of putting on the best show and competition is to attract corporate sponsorship—have to chip away at the debt, right?

Tokyo was dealt a losing hand when Covid delayed the games, and as a host city, was not legally able to cancel them, so are now on the hook to put on the event without the fanbase to help cover some of the costs. They did come up with a great slogan, though: Tokyo 2020NE.

At times, it doesn’t feel like it’s all about the athletes when you look at everything that happens in order to host the games. Some smart cities have withdrawn their bid when public support waned (how much did the bid cost? Less than what hosting would).

Will I watch? Of course. There are many sports that are enjoyable to watch that I only get to see every two years. There are people who train for years, and this will be their crowning glory—win or not, and in the end…

It should be about the athletes.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Monday Musings: Author’s Comments

I recently ran a promo with Itsy Bitsy Book Bits which gave their pool of reviewers free access to my poetry book. I unfortunately did not see any sales, but the reviews that I received put my BookBub total to 21, Goodreads to 37, and Amazon to 14. This made me ponder the appropriateness of author’s commenting on reviews.

There was a post about this a few months ago. I posted two questions in some Goodreads groups, but have had little feedback.

Authors: Do you comment on the reviews that you receive?

Readers: Do you like when authors respond to your review?

I have replied to many of my reviews in the past. My thinking that it is a personal touch that connects the two parties. In some reviews there have been questions or comments that I thought deserved a follow up. I have “liked” some reviews in the past, but maybe that’s bordering on arrogant?  

I don’t think that it is appropriate if an author retaliates for a poor review. It has probably happened, though I have never seen it. If a reader pans an author’s book, they are not expecting a scathing retort, they are voicing their opinion—which is the purpose of reviews.

The other dilemma is if you comment on one and not the other, does that hurt a reader’s feelings? If you are an author, you probably re-read your reviews, but as a reader, do you post and forget or do you look at other’s reviews after the fact?

Just some thoughts to mull over. What do you think?

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Monday Musings: Out of Touch

No cell service, no Wifi.

In the middle of nowhere? Not exactly. Just an hour and a half drive from where I usually wake up.

I stand on the rocky shore of the unusually calm lake. The rounded rocks slip under my feet and a few steps into the water they become slippery. The water is not very cold, probably because we have had such a hot summer. I crouch down and push myself out over the glassy surface.

The next morning, coffee in hand, I once again make my way to the lakeshore. The smoke in the air gives the rising sun a sinister blush, but also gives it a crisp outline as it begins its day’s journey. It’s captivating, and I take quick side glances at it. The reflection seems to swim toward me the longer I remain.

The island on the horizon is barely visible, and it seems to float above the once again calm waters. Birds flit through the trees, and ducks, annoyed by my presence let me know in language I suspect to be…well not so nice.

That afternoon, after 10 long hours of labor on the cabin (not mine), it’s time to pack it in. The rain came down in a torrent for five minutes earlier—it’s the first rain I’ve seen in a month (that would explain the low water level on the lake)—and it was over so quickly that I missed standing in it.

The wind has returned the water to its normal angry self, but not belligerent enough to prevent another foray to clean the day’s sweat from my body. I would like to stay here longer, but it’s time to pack up.

Leaving the lake behind, the gravel road gradually widens until it reaches the highway. Five minutes later my cellphone pings, alerting me to the presence of connectivity. I look for missed messages. No texts, no calls. Nice. Everyone I care about already knew where I was.

Now to tackle my email in box.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Monday Musings: Motivation

Did you really write that you ask? I think I did. I did my research (*cough* Google…) and nothing turned up.

On Tuesday I wrote about quotes (Tuesday Tidbits) and while looking through my notebook, I came across an old post that I thought I had used. Well, I couldn’t find it in my 237 previous posts (wow!), and since it kinda fits the theme (I used part of it in Tuesday’s post), and I didn’t have anything else planned, and I also didn’t feel like writing a whole new one (you’ll get the irony shortly). Here it is:

Motivation

Do or do not. There is no try.” Hold it right there Yoda. I’m going against my adoration for you and your (well, Lucas’s) universe and it pains my heart to when I say that I have to disagree with you. There is always a “try” in doing. It’s like telling a child that they can be whatever they want to be in life. Unfortunately, it’s just not true. But by trying, they will better themselves because they will fail at times (usually more often than succeed) and hopefully learn more about what they can and cannot do.

If someone wants to be an astronaut (Pick me! Pick me!) and winds up becoming a doctor or mathematician because they couldn’t hold down their lunch in the “vomit comet”, then the world has another person to be proud of, and they have learned that you shouldn’t eat a heavy meal the night before training. Maybe math or school in general wasn’t their strong suit and they go on to customer service, the arts, public service, or become a laborer. I hope they asked themselves, “Did I try my best?”, and if the answer was yes, then the next question should be, “Am I still trying my best?”. If the answer was “no” to either of those then we must look at, you guessed it: Motivation.

I’m not an expert on the M-word. Far from it. Do I try my best? Usually, but then again, I’m a pretty good procrastinator too.

[Pan to figure slumped on a couch, bowl of potato chips in their lap, TV remote in the other…]

(But I won’t leave dirty dishes on the kitchen counter overnight)

A few quotes come to mind: “Commitment is doing what you said you would do long after the moment you said it in has passed.” I credit this to Bear Grylls, the adventure guy. If you don’t know, he was in the British Special Forces when on a training exercise, his parachute failed, and he broke his…everything? He then (not right away) became the youngest person to scale Mt. Everest. Wow.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to suffer some life-changing injury, but often things happen, and we just say to our self, “That’s it, I’m going to do something/I’m going to stop something/I’m going to try something.”, or along those lines. It’s not easy making big changes or deciding to accomplish a task, and lack of motivation is a real killer of dreams.

Where does one get their motivation? There are many motivating factors to choose from and what works for others may not be right for you. Will what you do:

  • Improve your life or the lives of others?
  • Bring joy or happiness into lives?
  • Raise self-esteem?
  • Contribute positively to society?

I think that if you can answer yes to the question, “Will I be a better person if I can accomplish this?” then it is worth doing, even if there is a risk of failure.

So, do I watch TV and eat too many chips or finish this blog? Easy choice…

Ta-Da!

(Now where is the remote…?)

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Monday Musings

If all the wealth in the world was divided equally, everyone would get ~$70000. Now most of that wealth isn’t sitting in stacks of cash in someone’s closet (although I do suspect some seedier characters use that method) but tied up in physical assets. I have always thought that there is a lot of money out there that could be better allocated.

I gave some money to a panhandler one day. He said he needed money to get something to eat. Later, I saw him walking down the street carrying some beer. I don’t think I have given money to any other panhandler since. Wait—

That’s wrong. There was one guy who always had a funny sign that read: Ninjas took my sister. Need money for Kung Fu lessons. After seeing it for several months, I joked with him that he needed to change his sign. The next time I saw him he had. So, I had to give him something, right?

Another time, someone asked me for money, and when I offered the apple I had in my backpack, he outright refused, “I don’t want that.” Now, when asked, I always say, “Sorry” in the politest way I can.

One day, quite a few years ago, I was standing in line at the grocery store, and the woman in front of me did not have enough money to pay for all her groceries. As she told the teller to take of the tomatoes and another item, I said without thinking, “I’ll pay for those.” The teller rung up the groceries, and I handed her the balance. I can’t remember what else was said, I assume she thanked me, and I said something along the lines of, don’t worry about it, or my pleasure.

Opportunities like that don’t happen often, but I think that it is important to take advantage of them if you are able to. I don’t have much, but there are people with less, and even a small gesture is a step in the right direction. Even a smile and a kind word can go a long way.

Taking care of yourself first is not selfish. Only taking care of yourself when you are able to do otherwise, is.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!