You don’t win the silver medal, you lose the gold medal

Yesterday I had stayed up past midnight to watch what must have been and what will probably be the most exciting hockey game of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Argue with me all you want, but the fact that the NHL isn’t participating this year leads me to believe that what I saw last night will be the most competitive hockey game played this Olympics.

So before I get laughed at for losing to the Americans by the rest of my non-Canadian teammates, I’ll finish up this blog post and share with you a nice quote that I found from a news article talking about the Canadians’ loss last night.

You don’t win the silver medal, you lose the gold medal.

Decades of rivalry came down to, once again, another gold medal final game at the Olympics. For both countries, they were expected to win. The Canadians expected Canada to win. The Americans expected their team to win. Anything other than a win would have been a disappointment. And the end result left the Canadian team severely disappointed. They had every Canadian’s hopes and expectations on their backs and fell short – and you saw the heartbreak that resulted when they got onto the podium receiving that bittersweet silver medal.

My mind flashes to examples of when I have expectations of myself, when other people put their expectations onto my back, and when we relish in victory together in succeeding in what we had set out to accomplish. Examples of when I have expectations of others, and again, relish in victory together in succeeding in what we had set out to accomplish.

But of course, life is never always roses and dandelions.

Yes, just like every other part of life, I have had a lot of “roses and dandelions” experiences on this team. And yes, I have also had a lot of thorns that have struck my side on this team. When I look into things a little deeper, I see a lot of expectations of things and people getting thrown around – expectations about how things are done, what things are said, how people are acting, etc. And when I look at these moments where either I fail at the expectations given to me or someone else fails my expectations, I react in the same way the Canadians did last night – with emotion, disappointment, and frustration.

Expectations are everywhere. We can’t escape them. We naturally develop them as humans. It’s the bar that we set for ourselves and others to meet and exceed. The problem isn’t when these expectations are met. The problem arises when these expectations are not met. And it’s how us as humans react to these expectations that determine whether we are truly following Christ in that moment or following our sinful nature.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)

And yes, just as Christ gave us grace, we extend that grace not only to others, but ourselves. And so when I fail the expectations given to me, I need to remember that grace and encouragement will always be extended to me. And so when others fail the expectations I put on them, I need to remember that I need to extend grace and encouragement to them.

And so, Team Canada, I extend that to you, and congratulate you for a well-deserved silver medal.

I hope for gold in 2022 in Beijing. 😉