By Todd E. Brady
Vice President For University Ministries, Union University, Jackson
Superstar American gymnast Simone Biles’s withdrawal from Olympic competition in this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo caused quite a bit of chatter. Like opinions I am hearing concerning whether to take the COVID-19 vaccine or to not take the COVID-19 vaccine, it seems that opining people are everywhere–from the “Simone-Biles-is-the-greatest-hero-ever-for-mental-health” folks to “Simone-Biles-is-just-a-famous quitter” people. As is always the case, there are three sides to this story. There is your side. There is my side. And there is the truth.
Sure, the world has watched Biles on the global stage, but we need to remember that she is a human being just like the rest of us. I remember when Mary Lou Retton was on a Wheaties box. Simon Biles made it to a Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries box. We may never be on the cover of a cereal box but let us remember that regardless of fame or ability, we all eat our cereal one spoonful at a time. Every. One. Of. Us.
At the end of the day, only Simone Biles herself really knows what she was experiencing in Tokyo. Her close family and friends know more than most of us, but let’s just admit it. Most of us don’t know enough about the situation to speak to it, much less to give any kind of opinion about it. We are not intimately involved in her life. Most of us don’t know the ins and outs of Olympic competition. None of us ever fully knows what is going on in the heart and mind of another person. [Read more…]