It has been two days since the 100 meters women’s final at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. This was to be the Olympic event rerun for Sha’Carri Richardson who was banned from the Tokyo Games for testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana. It was her second chance.
The result – the same winners as in Tokyo, but Richardson placing 9th in last position.
Richardson declared that she’s not done yet while vociferously using expletives in the process and taking aim at her track rivals. It wasn’t a good day for her.
In the aftermath of the race, social media has exploded. The defeated athlete is the target of many bad jokes, humoring her performance and returning the same, or worse level of disrespect that she dished out prior to the race and afterwards.
For my part, I’ve had some time to reflect and to remind myself that there is a lot to be learned in the aftermath of the 100 meters Prefontaine Classic race. The lessons apply equally to Richardson and to her social media detractors.
Learn from every life experience.
It’s important to question ourselves when we keep repeating the same experiences. Repeating a life experience is usually an indication that there is a valuable lesson that hasn’t yet been learned or mastered.
We can only be better and do better when we know better.
Repeated abusive relationships, persistent debt, a series of jobs that don’t work out, multiple health conditions and always being at the centre of controversy are some life experiences that should prompt reflection and self-questioning. What usually happens is that we get a second chance to break the pattern of repetition. When we apply the lessons we have learned, we actually do better and move on to more rewarding experiences.
- Some ways to navigate the learning process – get professional help, give yourself permission to detach from past ways of thinking, close down relationships and activities that are no longer supporting your progress.
Second chances should be accepted with gratitude and with grace.
Not many people understand what they need to learn or do differently when a second chance is given. Don’t be one of those people.
Bragging about a major comeback in advance of a second chance may be more about gaining a ruthless, vengeful victory, and less about becoming a better person.
When you get a second chance, play the game differently.
- Consider this – A better person strives for excellence in their special talents and capabilities. A better person works tirelessly with humility, respecting the talents and capabilities of their competitors, while focusing on developing their own. In striving for excellence, second chances should be embraced with gratitude.
Be gracious in success. Don’t gloat at the failure of the other person who is struggling with their second chance.
Life is a journey of constant learning. We are all acting at our level of awareness.
Posting bad jokes on social media and responding on the same level as Sha’Carri Richardson is not helpful to anybody.
On Richardson’s placing and pre-race chatter, the winners of the 100-meter race had no comment. When pressed to comment, race rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce said, “I wasn’t watching Sha’Carri to be honest.”
- Many of our social media commentators would do well to follow Fraser-Pryce’s example and the stand taken by the other winners. Focus on your game and leave other people to learn in their own time and space.
“Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will rise up with wings as eagles. They will run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint”Isaiah 40:31
Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s why glory matters.