As I mentioned in a recent blog I have been struggling to find subjects to woof about. Maybe the pandemic has been going on for so long that my earlier windswept and interesting lifestyle has become staid and dull. I don’t know when this state of stupor will subside and I can go back to being wild eyed and footloose.
Anyway the Olympics have been on the tv and I have been watching some of the startling feats and abilities of some very talented humans and equines. I marvel at their feats and wonder at the stories of their endurance both through competing as well as the training in very challenging circumstances over the last eighteen months or so. Hugely technical tricks in the street BMX, pommel horse training in the back garden (whilst on Zoom call to the coach) and swimming as well as gym training at some unearthly hours to maintain fitness to retain a gold medal. All these activities take dedication and a fearsome will to win. I am not sure I have, or ever would have, these traits. I have a fearsome will to get treats or to beat Lenny at bitey face games, all the while running around the garden baying loudly. If there was an Olympic event of Beagle snout jousting, maybe I could enter.
I have also listened to some of the competitors say that they are going to take some time out for the sake of their own mental wellbeing. They feel as if they have the weight of the world upon their shoulders and it’s getting too pressured. I think this is a very brave thing to say. There is so much pressure put on some athletes nowadays that I am surprised more of them haven’t said they need to take a break earlier. When you have been at the top of your sport for years and years, you are unbeaten for a very long time and people are looking at you as the “Face of the Games” then the pressure mounts even more. Throw into the mix a pandemic, an extremely challenging and disrupted training schedule and general day to day family life, then I am in awe. To then hear people grumble and moan about the decisions which the athletes are taking is terrible. People who have probably never landed a double back somersault with pike on the vault or who have never swam under an hour for 100m breaststroke in the paddling pool in their garden. Truly awful to hear that people who have been fighting mentally and physically for years to achieve something that 99.9999999999% of people will never achieve, well its saddening. One of the athletes at the London Olympics recently took part in a documentary. She said that she was the “poster girl” for the Games, she was the archetypal “Face of the Games” and her face was all over magazines, billboards, transportation, murals etc and it piled so much pressure on her that she often wondered what would happen if she didn’t win gold. Thankfully for her she did win gold, and the pressure just lifted as soon as she crossed the line in the 800m final event. But for someone who has trained far beyond many peoples reasonable comprehension to have to think and worry about what will happen if I do not, or cannot perform AND WIN, is surely piling on pressure beyond reasonable limits. It is brave for people to speak up and say “wait a minute, I need to be mentally and physically right for this”.
I have a buddy on my twitter and his dad is going through a tough time at the moment. He was brave and told people “listen guys I am struggling so I am going to try and find help”. No one as far as I ma aware has been rude, nasty or condescending toward his admission that he wanted to find help. We all try to be supportive and help him see that he is loved by many and that he is important to many people. Sometimes it is difficult to find the right words to say but this doesn’t stop me from trying. Often I see that he has tweeted and many people have already responded with simple messages which we all hope he will read and find love and comfort in. A straightforward reply of “we are here to help you” or “You matter, you mean something to us” we hope can help. I’ve said it before on here but my nan always said that if you can’t say something nice then say nothing. The world is pressured enough as it is, people are struggling and maybe aren’t as mentally or physically tough as once thought. It used to be seen as a sign of weakness to admit that you need help. That’s wrong.
It’s ok to not be ok.