What the Olympics are Supposed to be About

I imagine you’ve watched at least some Olympic coverage over the last week and a half, but there’s a story I want to share if you haven’t been keeping up as closely as I’ve been.

This isn’t a story of Team USA winning gold. It isn’t about the dominance of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps. It actually isn’t about any medal or close finish. It’s about that mysterious thing that only pokes its head out a few times (if any) at the Olympic Games we know as the Olympic spirit.

It can be easy for us to forget that these athletes are human beings just like we are. They might have more notoriety than we do, they might have more money than we do, and they have the athletic ability we simply don’t. But we’re all human. Every one of us.

And two athletes put that on full display yesterday. Abbey D’Agostino from Team USA and Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand. The American clipped Hamblin and both fell to the track during their 5000M race. Abbey got to her feet first, but rather than proceed with the race she leaned down and encouraged Hamblin to get up and finish because it’s the Olympics. And Hamblin did. She got up. But then D’Agostino went down again. She’d injured her knee in the fall. This time it was Hamblin encouraging her to get up and finish.

They finished in the last two positions in their heat. Both would later be advanced to the final even though they didn’t qualify. But only Hamblin will compete. Abbey D’Agostino tore her ACL in the fall and collision. She ran more than a mile with a torn ACL. And the first person to meet her as she crossed the finish line was Nikki Hamblin.

I imagine the story is being shared more by the US media and in New Zealand, but there’s no doubt that these two women both gained millions of new fans and supporters over the last 24 hours. Not for being elite athletes. Not for winning gold for themselves and their country. Not for their personal stories that most viewers don’t know about. But because even in the midst of the highest athletic competition these two women forgot that they’re competing against each other. In those trying moments on the track it was more important to both of them to look out for their fellow human being rather than at their own standing in the race.

I love sports more than any person I know. But these women show how small sport really is. No one would have questioned either of them had they gotten up and continued on without looking back. But they didn’t.

Suffice it to say I’m a fan of both Nikki and Abbey now because they are the embodiment of what the Olympics are all about.

You can see what happened here, although the video won’t play if you’re not in the USA.

Advertisements

The Lack of Diversity in my Reading

Photo Credit: Valparaiso, IN

Before I continue with this post, I’d like to let you know that I’ll be talking about the lack of racial diversity in my reading. But I know that some people see anything Race related and automatically turn away, which is why I left it out of the title. The topic of racial diversity in publishing will NOT be discussed. This time. We’re strictly talking about my reading. Let’s begin.

One more point that I need to make before moving on is that in no way am I saying that these books, authors, or series are any less worthy of reading. We’re talking about me.

I’ve talked quite a bit about my reading habits on here. I mean, I have three different pages that are dedicated to books I’ve already read or want to in the future. And obviously reading is a big part of any discussion about books, so it makes sense to devote a good amount of space on here to my reading. But I realized something earlier today that I honestly hadn’t noticed before. It was something of a shock, actually. A huge percentage of the books I read not only have White protagonists, but they’re written by White authors. I can assure you that this was not done on purpose. That would be me saying that protagonists or authors of another Race are less worthy of reading. Absolutely not. I’m Mexican! Yes, I realize that in itself does not mean much, but I’m a Mexican author too. I want EVERYONE to read my books. And quite honestly, I believe my audience to be middle-aged, educated, White women. This is based off of the author events I’ve attended for writers in my genre. I saw the same person in the audience over and over again. I can tell you for certain that I was the youngest at every event I attended. By decades.

Anyway, let’s get back on topic. Let me tell you about some of the series and authors I read.

Authors

James Patterson – White

Suzanne Collins – White

Lee Child – White

Steve Hamilton – White

Robert B. Parker – White

Robert Crais – White

You get the point. There are more but it is not MOSTLY the same, it is EXACTLY the same. There is one author out of all of my books who is not White. Michele Martinez. I do have all of her books, but she only has four. Now let’s look at the protagonists I read.

Series

Spenser – White

Katniss Everdeen – White

Harry Bosch – White

Elvis Cole – White

Kinsey Millhone – White

Alex McKnight – White

Merci Rayborn – White

There are a whopping two series I read that revolve around non-White protagonists. Alex Cross, who is African-American. And Melanie Vargas. This is disappointing to me. Quite so.

I can guarantee that the Race of the main character is never once mentioned in any of these series, except for Alex Cross and Melanie Vargas. It’s not mentioned because it’s so obvious to the reader that it never needs to be mentioned.

I love all of the authors I’ve listed, all of them. Their books and writing and careers all speak for themselves. But I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I consider myself an avid reader and yet, it would appear that I’m an avid reader of the exact same thing over and over again. I’m sure plenty of readers are the same way, but I don’t want that to be the case with me. I want to be a well-rounded reader because there are plenty of great writers out there who are worthy of reading but may not be well known. It’s time for me to make an effort to read more books that follow a Black protagonist or Mexican or whomever, along with the series I already enjoy.

And the absolute worst part of all this, and I do mean the worst, is that I wrote a protagonist who is me in every aspect…except Race. And I’ll even tell you why. Because I thought him being White would attract more readers than him being Mexican. I sincerely love Andrew and the character I’ve created, but I HATE that I did that. Hate it. I don’t know if this is me conforming to the publishing industry or what, but I need to figure out whether I want to write the stories I want to write or whether I’m writing what I think might get me published one day. They may or may not be the same thing. Which is unfortunate.

I know my posts are typically witty, funny, and informative, but this was a post I needed to write for me.

Thanks for reading.

I ask that you glance over at your bookshelf and see if you find the same problem I did.