And that’s the final whistle! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Hear the loud deafening cheer. Feel the ecstasy in the air. They are not in a state of euphoria, they’re launching into unrestricted, interminable happiness. They can’t believe their eyes and ears. They are lost for words to express their excitement. Take it anywhere, you can’t reverse the decision.
See them running up and down like children on playground. They’re congratulating one another, hugging themselves, raising one another shoulder-high. No one can dampen their ardour or stop them as they throw new dance steps. No one can turn them off as they sing their new songs of inspiration. At best you’ll watch, at worst you’ll walk away. They’ve become a new source of inspiration just seeing their celebration and hearing their story of glory. When they interview them, their words and experience altogether become an inspirational poem on the tabloids of history and their statements quotable quotes lavishly splashed all over the media fronts.
Now they’re going for their medals: look at the big broad smile on their faces. People they know and don’t know celebrate them. They’ve laid their hands on it – the much desired, long-awaited and fiercely-fought-for trophy. O my God! Ladies and gentlemen, there they are – the best of the bests, the number one and no less. Give it up for the winners of the day! Stand up for the champions! What jubilation!
They’ve been led to their destiny for which they’d painfully worked hard for. They’ve laid their hands on the ultimate prize, they got the vision they believed in. They’re not divine; they had strengths and weaknesses too. They only made their strengths stronger and covered their weaknesses with their strengths. They fell down but picked themselves up quickly and moved on. They made mistakes but rose above them. Look at them glowing; they’re exhibiting so much energy as they’ve taken the day and indeed the season. They no longer know the painful preparation, they’ve forgotten in a microsecond the toughness of the competition, the heat of the battle. I call them the successful failures. They know for real what it means to experience the joy of winning.
But there on the other hand is another set of people. Look at tears of grief pouring down their eyes, see some hitting their head hard as if to break it while some are biting themselves in shame and regret. Zoom in on their faces: see them swollen, some eyes are red and blooded. See how they generally appear deluded, disarmed, debased, defeated (of course), deflated, humiliated and crushed.
Some refuse to collect the medal, among those that went, some refuse to put it on because they feel they’re not honoured. See their heads bowed down, not as if to say the Lord’s Prayer, but in bitter regret of extreme futility. I can only imagine how they feel.
Everything they’ve been through rushes back to their memories, their minds play back the video of their fatal fall right from the very beginning. When they try to shut their minds from the unpleasant replay and they lift up their eyes, they are betrayed as they can’t behold the winning party. They wish they were in the shoes of the winners. What a pity!
Recalling the rigour they went through in the crucible of preparation, after all the swaggers they came with in the confident predictions of winning before they started, after giving it their all, they now come up with a handful of sand. See how unusually weak they are, the loss has taken its toll on them. They put on angry faces; some clench their fists, not in readiness to fight, but to control the expression of their deep-rooted regret while others can’t hold it in anymore, they let loose crying like babies and are comforted by the embrace of well-meaning compatriots who needed the warmth themselves. Having come all the way, they now go back home uncelebrated, unsung and with dampened morale.
They have no new song to sing; no new steps to dance. Their mouths are full of sorry sores, laid on their tongues are pills of defeat bitter than gall and worse than vinegar. Some don’t want to look into the camera, they can’t wave to their fans, their hands can’t even hold the pen to sign any autograph. Having gone all the way with great expectations, they arrive home as the fallen heroes, the special failures. I call them the failed successes. Only they know in precise degree the pain of losing.