I’m not sure if it’s pain, or hot and sticky shame
That makes failure so bitter to the tongue,
So uncomfortable, it stings the eyes when cameras
Are watching with their thick rimmed lenses,
Judging and assessing you, and knowing
It’s not good enough, you fell so bloody short.
No-one hates you but that’s not the way it feels,
As you slink out of the light, into the shadows
Where we lick our ugly gaping wounds.
I’m a self-confessed Olympics fan and although swimming is my favourite, I find myself getting drawn into everything else that is going on. And today’s action reminded me of the pain that comes with failure when you wanted something so bad.
Jade Jones is a double Olympic Taekwondo champion and an all round legend. Today she was going for her third title, but she crashed out in her first fight. It was a bit of a shock to watch but what was most important was to watch the interview with her afterwards.
She was just so emotional and it was heartbreaking to see how five years of work, gone in a few minutes, affects a person.
Now, Jade is an Olympian so just getting there makes her anything but a failure, but she didn’t achieve what she wanted and it was crushing. And what makes it worse is that it has to be watched on such a global stage. When you just want to curl up and cry, it takes an immense amount of strength and dignity to go out there and give an interview about what ‘went wrong’.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with failure and I’ve had plenty of them throughout my life. It’s amazing how lonely you feel in these moments, like nobody else has ever suffered that devastation before.
I remember being about fourteen and missing a medal in the county championships by less that a second. I went straight to the changing rooms and I buried my face in my towel so that nobody could hear my sobs. It was very lonely in that changing cubicle and I wish that I’d had somebody to give me a hug and tell me that it happens to EVERYONE.
Today, I wanted to give Jade a hug. I’m sure she’ll recover but I’m sure she is hurting tonight.
3 thoughts on “on failure”
We’re none of us perfect, Rachel, so all of us have to deal with failure from time to time. Sometimes that failure is more bitter than others. And I think for Olympics athletes, it’s that the failure is so public, too. And people all over the world judge the athlete. I give them credit when they can handle it all with dignity; lots of people can’t…
Couldn’t agree more. And I feel like we respect them more if they do show that pain and shed a few tears. It shows how hard they have worked to do what they do!