The Olympics are over and for us, living in Brazil, a feeling of nostalgia surrounds us. We were lucky to go to Rio and watch several sports as a family but I think the one that really represented the Olympic spirit was athletics.
We watched the 10.000 mt race. Amazing race. The race started and suddenly Mo Farah fell. He lifted himself up and finished the race to win the gold medal. So much emotion, the crowd was crazy!
But you know whom the crowd was also cheering like crazy? The guy that fell together with Farah, but could not catch up. He struggle the whole race trying not to stop, you could see it in his face…he was one whole lap back…but he continued. Then suddenly a runner gave up, started walking…then a second slowed down. He steadily came closer and closer to him until he overcame him and finished his race. His race against adversity. My kids were stunned! More interested in this Dutch runner than Farah. “A true winner” I thought. “It is not easy to win a race, but it is much more difficult not to give up a race…” I thank this runner for teaching them that sometimes life can be hard, life can put you down, stop you. You can fall, but it is not the end, lift yourself up and continue running. Eventually, you will get to the finish line. Will not be first but still a winner.
As parents we usually tend to show our kids only the winning side. When we tell them stories about our past, in sports, school, work; we only mention the times we did well. And what about the times we did bad but we kept on? Or the times we had to stop, think, recalculate and change objective? And the times we tried but we did not make it? Wouldn’t it feel much better for my 11 year old, who thinks you are only good if you win, to know that mum and dad and even an Olympic athlete can loose and it is still ok? That the effort is important and not the result?
I realized the Olympics are not about winning … they are about trying.