Many of our neighbors are involved in Olympic and Paralympic events beginning Feb. 8. In fact, so many Utahns volunteered to help the 2002 Winter Games succeed that some weren't chosen. Cheers to all who give time and talent (for any cause, actually). Meanwhile, some groups protest and threaten to disrupt some aspects of the Games.
Perhaps many of us didn't want the Olympics here at all, believing Salt Lake City and Utah are already prominently "on the map," one slogan used to get support during bidding and organizing. Perhaps we believe the commercialism overshadows what are supposed to be athletic competitions, or we worry how much tax money has already been spent and how much more taxpayers will have to underwrite, especially in this year of state revenue shortfalls.
So, how should we "Welcome the World"? I speak only for myself. I can't afford a ticket to anything. The $855 cost of an opening ceremonies chit so stunned me I couldn't admire its shimmering artwork. And I won't line up at a supermarket to get a wristband to wear all weekend in hopes of getting a freebie for an evening concert.
But I want the Games to pay off, pan out, gratify competitors and satisfy fans. So I'll plan how to drive, even more carefully and courteously, to and from work despite blocked downtown streets and businesses. I'll work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., if needed. To enhance visitors' impressions of my city, I'll keep the office grounds clean. I'll use suburban post offices, banks and businesses, watch what's televised, and otherwise lie low.
Doubtless you can think of more ways to help all of us Utahns "win" at the Games. Please do them.
Salt Lake City