I've caught Olympic fever. Even cowbell can't cure it.
And there's plenty to get caught up in: an amazing opening ceremony, Michael Phelps' golden journey, Russia and Georgia battling without bombs, "The Redeem Team," countless beach volleyball coverage hours, and of course, one of the most asinine/optimistic comments I've ever heard: President Bush telling Bob Costas, "I don’t see America having problems."
But here's something that's struck me more than anything. Ara Abrahamian, a Swedish Greco-Roman wrestler, loses in the semifinals of his weight class' competition. In the bronze medal match-up, he wins, but he can't shake the previous loss. Abrahamian claims the officials, for lack of a better term, screwed him out of gold, and during the medal ceremony, the 33-year-old leaves the podium, throws his bronze on the mat and walks out. "I don't care about this medal," he later says.
For four years, the Stockholm mechanic has looked to better his performance in the Athens games where he won silver. Who could blame this man for being disappointed? After all that work and successes achieved, he believes a subjective decision led to him being slighted, his dream dissolved. In fact, Abrahamian said he would never wrestle again.
He sees the trees, but there is a forest here, and a lesson for all of us in how not to deal with a defeat in life's win-loss column. Bronze may not seem like success, but it does mean Abrahamian is the third best in his field on the planet, and has achieved something most can only dream. Maybe some day, he'll realize this, and he'll get a chance to figuratively pick that medal off the mat. Who knows if he'll ever have it literally.
Again, disappointment after four years of work should not be looked at as a foreign emotion. Anger over a perceived slight should not be viewed by others as a unnatural viewpoint. It's all too natural.
The point is Abrahamian didn't have to tarnish the games, the sport or the other competitors. Vent if you must, but take the honor you've been given and run with it. Bemoan in the short-term, but find solace over the long run. And if this was the straw that broke your camel's back and ended your love of your profession, Ara, then you are weaker than your physique would indicate.
Each Olympic games always seem to produce a story that shows us how to live our lives better. Ara Abrahamian has provided an example for so many...the wrong one. In wrong, let's find the right.