Eight years ago minus a day, I wrote the post “Why Lindsey Jacobellis rocks,” pouring out my joyful respect for how Jacobellis’ fun-loving response in the face of immense Olympic disappointment floored me in the best way.
Lindsey Jacobellis is my new role model. She threw herself into competition at a level few of us could possibly emulate, sacrificed so that she might be the best, and when that failed to yield the ultimate prize, instead of curling up in the fetal position, she had the self-esteem and presence of mind to appreciate the greatness of the effort and the joy of what she was part of, win or lose. I want my kids to be like her.
Four years later at Sochi, Jacobellis crashed and finished seventh overall. This video illustrates where Jacobellis’ state of mind was heading into 2018. To say the least, I was eager to see what would happen to her this time around.
Thursday, this incredible snowboarder, who as Nick Zaccardi writes has 10 Winter X Games titles, five world championships and 29 World Cup wins, remained cursed by the Olympics, finishing fourth in snowboard cross, .03 seconds from the bronze. Now 32 and perhaps out of chances for Olympic gold, Jacobellis retained her perspective.
“I could be upset, but where is that going to get me?” she said. … “It’s definitely the only thing I haven’t won, but it’s not something that’s going to define me. I still have a silver from Torino (2006). My mom keeps that. It’s my mom’s birthday today, so I’m pretty excited that I wasn’t hurt, so she’s not having a heart attack.”
You know it has to hurt Jacobellis mentally, emotionally. It’s not that it doesn’t hurt. It’s what you she does with the pain that’s so tremendous.
Coincidentally, perhaps mere hours or even minutes before Jacobellis began her run, I was on my way home from work listening to Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez on the Marc Maron podcast, and they had the following exchange as I pulled into my driveway.
Maron: “Does it bring back a wave of uncomfortable memories?”
Rodriguez: “I don’t know if I have any uncomfortable memories.”
Maron (laughing): “Well, you should be very grateful for that. Not one uncomfortable memory. Is it just because you accept them?”
Rodriguez: “Yeah, because I accept them. So then I rework them in my mind. I change the narrative.”
And I thought, man, what would it be like to be able to be like that, a thought only amplified by the later news of Jacobellis’ latest near miss.
This morning, for what it’s worth, I picked up the podcast where I left off, with Rodriguez in mid-response.
Rodriguez: “… So I just … lie to myself.”
Maron: “Well you know what, that’s how a lot of people get through their day.”
Rodriguez: “I think that’s how I get through my days, these days.”
Maron: “I would think things are going OK for you, right now.”
Rodriguez: “Yeah, yeah. But life doesn’t stop.”
Maron: “That’s right. Life can still suck, even when things are going OK.”
Rodriguez: “Yeah, they are not mutually exclusive.”