Despite the title I just typed in, I haven’t been following the games closely. Because I don’t watch TV often anyway, because the modern Olympics concept since Coubertin is full of falsity, or what? Maybe just because, for me, sports are something to do, not something to watch.
Then I happened to turn on the TV on the day of the women’s soccer final. Lucky me. Even if I can’t stay up till the game, I’d be socially perfect knowing when the game is. That way, whenever you see someone in the morning the next day, you can kick off the conversation like, “Yesterday’s match was just gnarly, wasn’t it? Didn’t go quite as expected I think. And I’m sleepy,” and your friends will weave the rest of the story, including all the actual facts. It’s not crucial what you know, but what really matters is if you know where to borrow, pick up, expand, lay and dry the knowledge.
To warm up the night before that big match, the TV program also featured a clip of an interview with Wambach, the American ace player who is also friends with Sawa of Japan. It was terrible.
“I’m not going to cheer for Japan. America is going to win.” was what the Japanese subtitle said. No, it’s not what she said.
“I wish nothing but the best for Japan, though… (didn’t catch this part exactly)” was what I heard her say. The shit subtitle just made her look bad, really bad. What a shame.
The new day dawned in the country of the rising sun and the story continues. There was some news coverage of some player showing some emotional reaction to missing a chance to score and tie in the game. Then, I saw some comment on it to the effect that “there is no point in talking if’s afterwards, you can just go for it next time,” which caught my attention like sandpaper catches fleece.
I thought about it for a while, and understood why. It seems like a good example of the typical positive thinking stuff, but is all presented from the spectator’s point of view.
For the viewer, there almost certainly is the next Olympics. And the next, and even 10 more times maybe. But for the player, it is not so. You may lose strength or you may get injured. Your sport may no longer be popular, or as a result you may not be able to make a living out of it. There is no guarantee that you can make it to the same stage four years later, and furthermore, there will never be another chance for the rest of your life where you can score that very one that you missed this time around.
It would be part of the job to switch moods if there was a next match coming up soon. If not, I’d say fuck that pressure to stay positive. Rather, isn’t the moment that the frustration hits you like a lightening from the sky the moment of truth, the back side of the record that chants the hymn about your strength, the proof of the intuition of an athlete?
So never say never mind. Because I do mind, more than any of you spectators. That’s why I sometimes recall it, in the middle of the workout, when I can’t seem to push through the last rep without the reminder, that mental slap in the face. Don’t say, easily, never mind. It may not be a pretty sight but I want to shout, I want to cry. So leave me alone, for now.