By Alisa Tanaka, Guest Blogger July 23, 2015
I’ve always been fascinated by how humans lift and support each other. We’ve seen countless examples of it time and time again. We support each other in times of tragedy and hardship. We support entire nations when natural disasters destroy homes and livelihoods. We support each other as we watch trained athletes chase their dreams on the biggest stages in the world.
On July 5, 2015 the 23 women on the United States women’s national soccer team became world champions, defeating Japan 5 to 2. As a nation, we watched these women make their lifelong dream a reality. Who could forget the way Carli Lloyd led the team that came storming out of the starting gates to a 4-0 lead in the first half?
And yet, some people felt the need to take to Twitter and turn America’s defeat of Japan and draw comparisons to that of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The fact that the words “Pearl Harbor” made it onto the list of trending topics on Twitter made me incredibly disappointed.
image via ibtimes.com
I was disappointed that someone (or a group of people, rather) thought that such parallels and references were appropriate. Some would call me sensitive, simply because of my background. But judging from the barrage of critical tweets, I am not the only one who was disappointed.
Celebrating your accomplishments and the accomplishments of others is never a bad thing. Expressing your opinion over an outcome, good or bad, is not a bad thing. But overshadowing an accomplishment with inappropriate commentary that lacks respect is crossing the line.
Being kind, either as a winner or a loser, will make you memorable in a positive way. People will remember you for thanking your opponents for making you better when you lose. People will remember you for comforting those in pain when you win. People don’t respect or remember the athletes who were rude and disrespectful in the face of their losses.
Remember to celebrate every victory in your life, regardless of its size.
The Japanese media remember Abby Wambach as a player who shook hands with every Japanese player following her loss in the 2011 World Cup despite her obvious disappointment. They remember Hope Solo as a player who encouraged Aya Miyama to celebrate their victory despite the fact that she had just endured a devastating loss.
Hope Solo remembers Aya Miyama as a friend who did not immediately partake in the celebration during that same match; she remembers her as a player who showed the Americans respect in the face of their loss during that same match.
You can be remembered for being kind. It doesn’t matter if you’re dreaming of winning a World Cup, an Olympic medal, or even if your dreams are completely unrelated to athletics.
Remember to celebrate every victory in your life, regardless of its size. Take a page from the athletes on the USWNT and remember to congratulate the victor when you fall short. Remember to reflect on your own journey and use your disappointment to make you better. Remember to acknowledge your opponents and congratulate them, even when you win. Remember to be kind.
You’ll be remembered. I promise.
What do you think? Was the hashtag just another awful product of haters on the internet? Or was it something more? Tell us below!
While the phrases “passionate mental health advocate,” “bilingual college graduate” or “confused 20-something” would all be accurate ways to sum Alisa up, she doesn’t want to settle for just one of them. When she’s not working, she dreams of traveling the world (having already traveled to/lived in China, Japan, Ireland, England, and Australia), writes her blog, plays with her puppy, watches copious amounts of Netflix documentaries, and curls up with a cup of tea and a good book. Follow her on Twitter @AliTanaka1
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.