I sat quietly among the audience and watched my dearest friend, the Olympian – my favourite long jump athlete – on a Saturday afternoon. It was his worst performance in ten years.
To me, the result was foreseeable. He wrote me a few weeks earlier, said he was injured due to the unexpected cold winter of England. However, to give up, he said, was not an option.
We gathered after the match for some tea and laughed the day off while having some seriously good cakes. I saw the bitterness in his eyes; yet I knew for sure that his ethics, which I admired, would get him far in sports and in life.
The Olympian was one of my hopes, or precisely, my hope for hopes. He practises consistently in the early morning and late at night, under the sun and under the wind. He is a champion, a person that changes lives, and a pianist. He taught me very important lessons about spirit: owning hardship, owning glory, the practice and focus in between. His glory was not inherited but earned, by increasing results by centimetres and by solving one equation at a time.
We can hope, as human, simply because we can believe, practise and improve.