There's no time like now

The Monitor's Douglas S. Looney is writing a series of his personal observations from the Olympics, called Dispatches From Down Under, for the Monitor's electronic edition. They can be read at csmonitor.com/olympics

A difficult thing in life is to enjoy the moment. It's not clear why, but as a species, we generally are engaged in looking back or looking ahead.

I got to thinking about last Friday evening at the Olympics Opening Ceremony. I arrived early because I wanted to take in the whole scene - thoughtfully. After all, the Olympics are many things, including deserving of thoughtful consideration.

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I settled in at Olympic Stadium, just seven rows up from the field, right in the middle. I looked around. And I thought, "There's no place in the world that I'd rather be right now than right here."

That, sports fans, is an exquisite feeling. No matter what, nobody could have suggested a single thing that would have improved on my situation.

What a moment.

And then it got started with those 120 horses on the stadium floor, each rider carrying an Australian flag. There was music and drama and the singing of the Australian National Anthem. It was a sweeping emotional time for a people who have given their all to putting on Games that are worthy in every respect.

What a moment.

There followed a panoply of exuberance, color, sound, spirit, lights, fireworks, people swinging on high wires, and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Band - all while eating some of the better popcorn in the Western world.

What a moment.

And when it could get no better, along comes star singer Olivia Newton-John, who dazzled the throngs by singing from her overflowing Australian heart in a performance that rocked the house.

What a moment.

All this, of course, was before the march into the stadium by the athletes. Imagine, the old antagonists, North and South Korea, marching in as one to the roar of the crowd. And along came the United States team, behind Old Glory rippling in the breeze. Then there was the Olympic Fanfare, the lighting of the cauldron with the torch.

What moments.

Never once did I wish or even think about being somewhere else - or about where I've been or about where I'm going.

They even played Waltzing Matilda.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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