The Missing Interview … August 14, 2012

  • Loser — Part 1
    (1,607)

During the Olympics, when they had an interview with visitors to London about the various styles of fish and chips, you realized that they had reached the end of possibilities for making the event any more marketable. After all, seventeen days is a long time. Even when you’re talking about athletes from 204 nations converging on a single city in an action of sporting pleasure and worldwide unity, it still loses some of its glimmer when you cross about twelve days–especially when you consider the rewards system.

Because in the midst of all that coverage, there are many interviews with many people who are participating and later winning in the games. I listened to them intently and like everyone else, was deeply impressed with those athletes who won gold medals, especially in multiples. I found it somewhat interesting when they would have a conversation with a particular sportsman from a small nation who won a silver medal which ended up being the only one his country acquired.

But the obvious missing interview was the discourse with the individual who, through much effort and training, was able to win four bronze medals.

A set of 1998 Winter Olympics medals on displa...

A set of 1998 Winter Olympics medals on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, for some reason or another, NBC, which certainly became desperate for feature stories, still did not consider a third-place finisher who had achieved it several times to be worthy of air time. Perhaps the Olympics was the beginning of the notion that prizes should be given not only to the winner, but also to those who come close.I’m sure I would feel differently if I was an athlete at the Olympic Village, but somehow or another, bronze leaves me cold. I’m not particularly thrilled with silver. And I know that I’m not alone here. Because even though they do tally the silver and bronze medals, it is worse than an afterthought, but rather, a necessity brought to our attention because the Olympic Committee decided to offer also-ran prizes.

Yes–the missing interview is with that guy or gal who won the most bronze medals. It’s just difficult to celebrate their position. It would be similar to attending a party of an individual who lost on Jeopardy! who decided to be festive by inviting all of his friends to his house to indulge in enjoying the Rice-a-Roni he got for third prize. It leaves something to be desired.

It’s not that I’m saying that people who come in third in the Olympics are mediocre. It’s just that we need to stop trying to make people feel that they have achieved what they really haven’t. All of us are trying to escape self-deception, and it doesn’t help when the world around us encourages it.

If you won a bronze medal, you’ve really lost. Maybe you came to London to win bronze. I guess that’s possible. But somewhere along the line in your training, even if you were pursuing third place, you would have a particularly good day of exercise and begin to believe that first place was possible–so therefore, disappointment is inevitable.

The only thing we all share in common is that we’re all, at one time or another, losers.

In other words, we lose. There are three deadly reactions to losing that eliminate us from further human contact: (1) anger–an abstract sense that life sucks and is not fair; (2) excuses–going through a litany of possible explanations of why you didn’t get gold; and (3) resignation–“oh, well, it was just never meant to be” or worse yet, “it was just God‘s will.” All three of those positions drive other human beings away like an odor hanging in the air from a busted port-a-potty.

What do you do when you’ve got five bronze medals that accurately telegraph to the world that you’re a loser?

1. Be grateful you’re healthy. In the pursuit of gold, you became a phenomenal physical specimen. Amazing. You are in a tiny percentile.

2. Realize that you got to play with the best. There is a difference between winning first place at your high school talent show and coming in third on American Idol. The difference is that you have a clear understanding of what it means to bark with the top dogs.

3. Know that you got to be part of something great. For the rest of your life you will get to say that you competed in the Olympics. Now, there’s always some jerk who will ask you if you won any medals. After about a year, bronze will start sounding better and better.

4. You learned what you can do and what you can’t. The beginning to all future success is putting your abilities to the test and finding out where you leak. You can plug the leaks or you can avoid exposing them. Either way, you’ve got information.

5. You can take the adventure and rather than experiencing humiliation, mature it into humility. When we are not ashamed of what we’ve done, we can be honest about our place in life. It gives us a humility that makes us attractive to our fellow-travelers. It is a benefit you receive only when you don’t win the gold.

So there you go. Even though there was a missing interview with that bronze champion, he or she will come out of the experience having been surrounded by the same intensity, beauty, power, fellowship and pageantry as all those who won gold.

It’s just a matter of taking the best from every experience and using it to increase your next possibility.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I think representing your country is an honor for that person and made that person a ‘gold’ medal winner at the time. Congratulations are in order for each contestant! Good thoughts, Jon!

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