Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lindsey Jacobellis: In the Public Eye


"I make my living off the evening news, just give me something -- something I can use, people love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry." ~ Don Henley

My heart goes out to Lindsey Jacobellis, the snowboarder who, the media tells us, was seeking gold in this year's Olympic Women's Snowboard Cross in order to redeem her failure in the
same event in Torino. According to one commentator, she's had to endure four years of questions about why she celebrated her apparent victory too soon, slipped, and came in second, instead. As if the experience itself wasn't enough, she's called upon to relive and then explain or justify it to one reporter after another who believes they're going to uncover something we don't already know.

Following her accident yesterday when she struck a gate in the same event and was disqualified, the announcer said, in effect, there goes her opportunity for redemption. And now she'll have to cope with questions about that loss as well. I suppose it's the price one pays for being in the public eye, but that's often said by those who never take such risks to begin with. It takes a lot of nerve to put yourself forward, especially when you might fail and the whole world is watching.

I imagine there must have been times recently, when she wished there was a witness protection program for people who make simple mistakes. I've not only felt that way, I've been grateful no one from NBC or CNN was around to chronicle some of the one's I've made. It's bad enough wishing the ground would open up beneath you without having to dig for explanations you're not sure you can even give yourself.

I don't know what Lindsey wanted out of this year's Games, but it only seems reasonable that she might have liked to compete, do her best, and enjoy herself. I hope she's back in 2014 and able to forget the medals, the questions, and the expectations that don't matter anyway, and for a few shining seconds, sail down the mountain at break-neck speed, doing what she loves, with hope in her heart and wings on her heals. That would be sweet to see.

(Image of Lindsey Jacobellis at Vancouver by Getty Images via Daylife)
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