Here’s a name to remember: Wilhem Belocian. He’s a French sprinter. He spent his entire life training for the 110 meter hurdle. He skipped women, school, booze, life. He was singularly focused. He was literally one in a million. But, he made it. He qualified. The grueling schedule. The stunted social development. Missed opportunities. Lives lost. It paid off. He was in the Olympics. On August 15, his parents, friends, enemies all tuned in. They knew this guy! His heart was racing. All of his sacrifices, dreams, and inspiration came down to this: he was on a stage that most would kill to occupy. Ready [is she watching?] Set [here comes the gold!] Go! [Huh? What’s the announcer saying?] False start. Wilhem is disqualified. He is out of the Olympics.
And, just like that, Wilhem was on a plane home. Check out the video. You won’t see the imperceptible off-sides. Even if you do, you will be hard pressed to justify his harsh, cruel fate. This guy will not be in Tokyo in 2020. His whole life reduced to a millisecond of anticipation. His entire career lasted exactly 1.7 seconds.
It got me thinking. We have become a society that demands a second chance. We raise our children to believe that everyone gets a medal. 10 teams in the league? Let’s have a 10-team playoff. Tonya Harding’s skate was loose? Start again. Gore lost the election? Re-count. Good is no longer good enough. But, fear not, everyone gets a mulligan.
So what’s the problem? This: It’s not realistic. Life does not give second chances. First impressions rule!! Bad first interview? You’re done. Awkward first date? It’s going to be a cold, lonely winter.
Here’s what you’re thinking right now: I like his concept, but what is his point?
I want a second chance. At everything. You know me. I say the wrong things. I make poor decisions. I jump the gun – – even if the tape is inconclusive. But, I don’t want to go home. I have trained too long. Ran too hard. I want my kids to be inspired by the effort not the result. There should be points for trying. Medals for wanting it. Credit for heart and hunger. Not the gold medal. Duh, that’s for the winners. But, maybe, just a heart. Not the sacred purple ones reserved for soldiers injured in the line of duty. But a complicated red one for the people just trying their very best and coming up short. Whenever you see someone with a red heart in their chest, you’ll know they tried their best, even if they fell short. You’ll understand that what you see is not often what you get. You will sympathize with their unknown secrets and travails. You will root for a second chance. Not because they deserve it. But because you do.
Its been a good year. We did not post much, so no one cared. But, our last 3 blogs were read by over 180,000 people. In December, we will post an award from WordPress!! So, please pass this around. Share it. Like it. Subscribe to it.