[Noun; ~ Pronunciation: /dis-uh-point-muh nt/]
- Definition: Opting for gold at the Olympics, then breaking down into a savage series of cries and shouts (tears included) because you “only got silver”. Yes, your country is almost as disappointed in you as you are in yourself.
“When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment”
– Ryan Reynolds –
The world is going crazy. Of course, we all already knew this, but every now and then the Universe feels it must remind me of this sad fact.
What’s happened? Well, the Olympics have happened. Or are happening, more like. And with them, surreal expectations of our Dutch Team have once again arisen. News and speculations of which athlete is going to win which medal have pushed more important global matters to the back pages of the newspaper. Did you know Madeira is literally burning up by forest fires? Neither did I, until I had turned at least 7 pages of the paper that were full of potential Olympic events.
What’s even sadder, maybe, is that there’s a huge photo on the cover of the paper showing three Dutch Olympians, accompanied by the words Still No Euphoria. Despite not professing the same sports, they did have three things in common: 1) each of them was expected to win gold, 2) neither of them did (one silver, one bronze and one got beaten), and 3) all of them are disappointed beyond limits.
Not to mention how the reporter must have felt, because judging from his words he was less than pleased with their achievements. And here I am, thinking journalists were supposed to be impartial.
The thing is, I cannot imagine going to the Olympics in the first place. To me, simply getting the green light to go do your thing there would be victory in itself. For how many people can say they went there as an athlete? Exactly, none of us “normal mortals.”
Then, it’s even harder for me to imagine winning an Olympic medal. The only sports prize I ever won was a silver-painted, super small trophy for coming in second at my elementary school’s annual Sports Day (I still have it – might as well cherish such an outstanding achievement for the rest of my life). I was ten years old then. Never won another prize for any of my sportive endeavours after that.
But imagine you win such a coveted Olympic medal. Honestly, any metal would do for me! But in the end, as usual, it’s not about enjoying yourself, or being in the moment, or being proud of what you did. It all comes down to the colour of the medal: if it’s not gold, it’s worthless. Both in the eyes of the athletes and the public (at least the Dutch seem overly critical).
All the things I did (or didn’t do) in my life that left me disappointed cannot weigh up to the disbelief of seeing a grown-up, professional cyclist cry over his medal. Because it’s not what he had aimed for, because he feels he let himself, his team, his trainer and his country down. And possibly some more.
I say, you can expect a brilliant outcome all you want, but the only thing you can do is try.
And honestly, if you don’t want that silver Olympic medal, I do! I promise I won’t be disappointed it’s for the wrong gender or that it’s for cycling (which I hate).
I guess there is a lesson to be learned here. Maybe to adjust your expectations to reality. Or work harder if you’re so keen on grabbing that gold.
But above all, I think it is to be more appreciative. Because if you manage to come in second or third at the Olympic Summer Games and still be disappointed, there’s something very very wrong with your mindset and self-love.