I freakin' love the Olympic Games.
Since I was a boy living in Brisbane, Australia and experienced the Commonwealth Games in my home city, then seeing the spectacle of the 1984 Olympic Games (the first in my memory) I've held an undying fascination for the Olympiad.
I love watching it on TV. I love seeing all the sports, familiar and unfamiliar. I love following all the athletes from my adopted country and barrack loudly for them when they compete. I keep track of the medal table and analyse the records and the stats. I love the drama of the competitions and seeing the glory and the heartache of the world's best athletes giving their all in their chosen sport.
I also love to see almost every country in the world getting together in a stadium and battling things out at sports, rather than on a desolate plain somewhere with guns in their hands and hatred in their hearts.
For two fleeting weeks every four years, it seems that humanity does actually live up to its potential and celebrate the fact that we are all one on this planet while simultaneously acknowledging that we are all different; from different countries and with different skills, talents and abilities.
It's been an extra enjoyable event this time, with a good result for New Zealand, achieving arguably my adopted country's best result ever. The good natured ribbing of Australia (my country of origin) as they struggled to match previous medal hauls was fun too.
Now, with one day to go of the 2012 London Olympics, I'm feeling the same gentle, happy melancholy I do at the end of every Games. However, the fleeting nature of the Olympics, like a bubble that bursts so soon after it's been created, is what makes it so special. (That's the point of the above cartoon, if you hadn't worked that out by now.)
The idea of four years until the next event always makes me reflective. What will happen in the world between now and then? Will we, as a planet, ignore yet again the lesson from the Olympic Games that there are better ways of resolving our differences than by armed conflict?