Thou Shalt Get Back Up, Again

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For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. Proverbs 24:16, NIV

Get back up again. That should be the theme song for these 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. There have been more spills and chills and bangs and clangs and crashes and smashes that it seems more like a Saturday morning roller derby than a world-class sporting event. Nonetheless, the athletes certainly have learned life lessons; our take away from watching is that we have benefited from lessons learned.

The first life lesson is, after a fall, get back up again. And mind you, the question is not if you fall, it’s WHEN you fall, because life, like the slopes on the downhill, can be steep, and the ice on the ice rink can be sleek.  So don’t fail to learn the lesson – get back up again. Get back up and finish what you’ve started, because someone out there is watching and waiting and wanting you to get back up again.

Jeremy Abbott learned the lesson.  A U.S. champion, Jeremy fell hard on an attempted quadruple toe loop Thursday in the men’s short program at the Olympics, yet he managed to finish the routine.   Abbott crashed to the ice on his first jump and slid into the padded end boards, staying down for an extended period, clutching his right hip. He looked like he wouldn’t get up, and his coaches moved toward the ice rinks entry door to mollify their maimed man.

Jeremy Abbot learned the lesson and got back up again. In fact, Jeremy taught the rest of us, indeed the rest of the watching word, at least three lessons. First, he taught us that we are all prone to fall. Second, it’s easy to stay down after a fall. Third, it’s not easy to get back up.  But get back up he did. When Jeremy fell, it was a hard fall, and we all held our collective breath wondering if he would get up again. But get back up he did.  

Since we are all prone to fall, we should all resolve to get back up.  It should be in our constitution: “Thou shalt get back up, again.”  After a tough and tortuous fall, it would have been understandable for Jeremy to solicit the sympathy vote. Just lie there, have everyone feel sorry for you, and skate off the ice into obscurity. Not so.

Even though he was hurt, his side was aching and his back was throbbing, he got back up again. His pride was gnashed and his medal hopes were dashed yet he got back up and completed his program. Abbott, 28, struggled to his feet and, to the surprise of many and the applause of the crowd, resumed skating. And he performed quite well, hitting the rest of his elements.  In fact, his performance after the fall was BETTER than it was before. It was as if he got a shot of adrenaline from falling and determined to finish despite the dejection and the apparent defeat of his fall.

When his music stopped, the four-time champion drew a huge ovation from the fans. He hit himself lightly in the head while shaking it, as if to say he couldn’t believe what had just happened. The partisan Russian crown threw flowers onto the ice, and warmly welcomed him into what seemed like a winner’s circle. He won, not the ornamentation of a medal, but the reputation of master, a person who has the ability and power to endure a tragedy and turn it into a triumph, a person who has endured shame and will now go on to certain fame, because he determined to get back up again.

Jeremy Abbott

So Get back up again, and encourage anyone who falls to get back up again, too. Use Jeremy’s example of courage to get back up, again.  One Tweetter said that Jeremy “showed true grit and strength after that awful fall. Proud of you! So admirable.” #nevergiveup.

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