My husband returned last night from a mission trip to Romania, so tonight we caught up on what he had missed of the Olympic games. I loved having them on DVR so that we could speed up those slow moments between dives, skip commercials, and zoom past teams or individuals acting inappropriately when they won (or lost).
To me, the highlight of these Olympiads was Gabby Douglas’s gold-medal performance in the women’s gymnastics all-around. She was happy, bubbly, and humble. The child had not an ounce of the diva in her.
Another wonderful moment came when David Boudia held it together and took the gold in men’s 10 meter platform diving. I was very proud of Tom Daley as well. He was the epitome of grace under pressure. He and his teammates were so happy over his third place finish that they all jumped in the pool together.
What I disliked tremendously was watching athletes pout or display anger because they didn’t win. Perhaps they were disappointed with themselves, but throwing a fit when earning silver instead of gold does not show good sportsmanship to me. Don’t destroy the winner’s joy; let him have his moment unperturbed by a competitor’s jealousy, rage, or unhappiness.
I feel very much the same in daily life. We should be happy in the accomplishments of others, not spiteful. Friends should be joyful that others are doing well, not jealous.
I’ve been rereading Persuasion, and I am struck again by the selflessness of Anne Elliot. She, Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility), and Fanny Price (Mansfield Park) illustrate grace under pressure, humility, and the ability to rejoice in the happiness of their loved ones. Life was not easy for any of these ladies, yet they persevered, and they were rewarded in the end.
Austen endowed her lead female characters with surprising strength for her time. They were genteel ladies, but they had firmness of character, they were admirable, and they have withstood the test of time. They are still believable today.