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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Enjoy the limelight because it lasts but a short time

By Brooks Taylor | Aug 26, 2016

Fame is fleeting, it is said.

Look no further than the recently completed Olympic Games for evidence that the time in the limelight can be minuscule, so it is wise to make the most of it while you have it.

In 2012, Missy Franklin was one of the swimming stars for the United States. Four years later and a year after turning professional, she qualified for one Olympic event, finishing 13th in that event.

Gabby Douglas was another star of 2012. Although Douglas did bring home another gold medal from Rio as a member of the champion U.S. team, you didn’t hear much else from her. Much else in the gym, that is.

Plenty was said about Douglas on social media, most of which wasn’t favorable. There were the comments about her on the awards’ stand with her teammates, and Douglas being the only one who didn’t have her hand over her heart during the playing of the national anthem.

There were those who claimed Douglas was not a supporter of her teammates because in some on-camera shots, it was claimed she showed a lack of enthusiasm.

There are just some people who don’t have much to do. It reminds me of an editor, who when questioned about the mistakes in his newspaper, replied, “We strive to print what people like. And some people like finding mistakes.”

Social media, like other technology, is both a blessing and a curse. While it is beneficial to have information at the touch of a finger, social media also can feed the rumor mill.

I don’t understand the complaint about the hand over the heart during the national anthem. Had Simone Biles done the same, would there have been the same amount of criticism? I am guilty, too, of not placing my hand over my heart during the national anthem, but that doesn’t mean I am one iota less attentive or reverent than the person who does.

Secondly, so Douglas was not a cheerleader on the sidelines. Again, why is that a sin? People show their emotions in many ways. It is quite possible that she was more demonstrative and enthusiastic when the camera wasn’t on her.

After hearing all the pre-Olympics horror stories and telling a friend I feared the Olympics may be remembered for something other than the performances, I was pleasantly surprised.

Ryan Lochte provided the only chink to the armor. Lochte, although a medalist, lost more than he gained with his robbery fabrication story. If he were a 19-year-old college student, his story might be easier understood as a lapse in judgment.

Lochte, however, is 32 years old, so there goes the youth excuse. You just have to shake your head and ask why. So much for capitalizing on the Olympics. His sponsorships have fallen like flies. Although he won medals, he arguably was the biggest loser in this year’s Olympics.

“Flashes in the pan,” as some call it, aren’t just limited to sports.

There have been plenty of them in politics. Julian Bond and J. C. Watts come immediately to mind. I realize that mentioning the pair might date me, but hey, I’m used to it.

Bond, who died not long ago, was a prominent Georgia legislator in the late 1960s and 1970s. A Democrat, Bond was seen as having a political future extending well beyond Georgia. That never happened and after the 1970s, you rarely heard about him.

Watts was a University of Oklahoma wishbone quarterback under Coach Barry Switzer. Although Watts was well known for his exploits on the gridiron (he played in the Canadian Football League following college), he made more headlines as a U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma. Watts, an African-American and son of a minister, gave the GOP response to President Bill Clinton’s State of the Union message and headed the House Republican Caucus.

Seen as the “golden boy” in the Republican Party, Watts is now chairman and CEO of Feed The Children.

So, when it is your moment in the sunshine, embrace it and be proud because the spotlight will dim quickly.

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