Compassion is not easily come by, or we would practice it more. Like everything though, it is not a question of whether or not we have it or use it, but a question of 'how much?' If one were made up of only ten ingredients and there was a scientific measure of apportionment for our materialization so that each individual was to be exactly the same as another, then we might expect each of the ten ingredients to be a 10% of the Whole, but that is not the case. We each have a little more of this than of that. And we each comprise a certain admixture that also changes as we mature, evolve, and decay. There is no stasis. Anabolism precedes katabolism. And phylogeny precedes ontology. Only one person gets the gold. (Or in Canada's case, one team glitters above another.) Does that make the rest idiots, fools, lazy, or muppets? Can we be conscious of the concentrations of the admixtures within ourselves, let alone of an 'other'?
These Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have brought the distinction of hundredths of a second to light. That so very much can ride on such a minuscule apportionment of time! That years and years worth of training and hopes and dreams can be so easily upset by a slide into the boards, by the fall of another causing you to fall too, by the missed opportunity to score, by the sheer luck of the post stopping the sliding puck! What else but to treasure the journey toward the goal, to appreciate that one can walk, run, skate, compete, and have been lucky enough to get the support and wherewithal to have gotten a placement into the Olympics in the first place. And then to witness the nations being represented by people from other nations. Persons of Chinese origin represent Russia, the USA, and Canada too. The historical ethnicity of names comprising a hockey team is astounding. That Latvian goalie, shutting out 55 of 57 shots on his goal in a single game, will soon enough represent an American team. We are a melting pot of cross cultural identities, of transposed persons, of mixed races. And we compete to see who wins, inspiring youngsters all over the world to get off the couch and away from the computer in order to attain the physical (and mental) potential in them too. But only one will get the gold. It is the journey that is important. It is the enjoyment of the process. It is the treasure of believing that one has a chance! But it is the realization of that word, chance, that might be brought to mind at almost every step in play. The slightest of mishaps, of bounces of the puck, of slips of a ski blade, and... Skill and chance go toward the day; let us prepare our skill, and chance what may!
Yet tears and upset and anger at the self (or others) abounds. Even a string of silver medalists could hardly crack a smile of gratitude or appreciation when being awarded; gold had been plucked from them in the last three minutes of a three period game. To have so much attention focused on a dark puck doing exactly as they bid, over the process of so many years, and to be so close, was to have them appear thoroughly undermined when it came down to the wire. And that they should be so hurt and wounded and disappointed stands to reason. It might've been better to give them a fifteen minute break in the locker room, all to themselves, while the Gold winners kept outside in a parade of glee. And then, once the losing team had had a chance to regroup, and to put their game faces back on, to let them come out into the spotlight of their accomplishment with grace and gratitude. But to have nowhere to hide so soon after such an upset evidently was truly terrible. It showed. Yet the cries of poor sportsmanship abounded.
Try not to exclaim when you cut your finger, trip and fall, get your toe stepped on, get a door close on you, have someone take what you thought was a waiting parking spot. Try to forgive yourself when you make a mistake, miss a shot, forget a date, overlook a birthday, neglect to call or do not answer an email. And then just think of what it must be like to be there, a whole country with its eyes on you, and someone else beats you to the draw. So close, but... Over!
Only one person gets gold. But as the rest of us come well to know, getting gold is not all.