Don’t pay attention to the time stamp. Oh. You can’t see it, anyway.

So yeah, I didn’t get to start watching the Olympics until almost 11 this evening. My roommates and I watched Michael Phelps and the Lochte guy. Ryan. Fun stuff. Then we nearly had a heart attack watching the women’s beach volleyball team almost look weak with a win of the first set after five set points, then got down to business for the second set. Then more swimming, then women’s all-around gymnastics. My roommates went to bed, then of course I’m here all alone, me and China hanging out, not doing much to ease my anxiety. Now I’m in present tense. I keep close track of those in the running for the all-around title, and I disagree with some of the scores. I’m biting my nails and standing up and my stomach churns hoping my American friends Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson don’t royally mess up. The DVR is set to record until 1AM and I’m minding my business, cheering for my country and our girls have just finished the balance beam and I notice the record light on the cable box is off. It is 1:10AM, and I switch to “Live” to make sure I didn’t miss any important coverage. And I see the medal podium, but it’s too late to switch back, because I know the positions of the gold, silver and bronze winners: middle, left, right. I see who’re standing in the respective positions before they step onto the podium. I press record, and I jump up and down and tears well up in my eyes because Francis Scott Key somehow saw my two American friends cherishing this moment, being so grateful and proud their hard work paid off. Gold. Silver. They become emotional, and I continue standing with my hand over my heart. The three winners are all on the top step posing for a photograph, and sportsmanship reigns. I switch back to the DVR to watch the floor exercise – the last rotation – to make sense of the math, to see the Olympic spirit weave through competition and friendship and simple human decency, and I rejoice, because isn’t this how it’s supposed to feel? Everyone’s crying; everyone’s hugging; everyone’s cheering for everyone.

Some of my friends are up against plain ol’ life. Like, the really lousy, nearly impossible parts. It happens, and some moments are hard to comprehend, much less cope with. But these friends do it; they get through, rise above, stand tall and proud.  I believe them. They deserve that much. They deserve more.

I’m cheering for you.

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