Last update: 05-Dec-2013 3:57 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Celebrating Jehue is celebrating ourselves
Hello, let me introduce myself. Elsa Wrench is not my real name. It is a pseudonym I use for this column. But we have become such good friends these last few months that I owe it to you, gentle readers, to reveal my true secret identity.
My real name (at least for today) is Jewel Gordon and I am the identical twin sister of Jehue Gordon, the champion hurdler who flung himself across the finish line in Moscow to win gold for T&T. The resemblance is striking—except I am female, shorter, fatter, slower and I never exercised a day in my life. In high school, when the games mistress introduced the class to hurdles, I crawled under rather than try to heave myself over the uncooperative wooden obstacles.
Other than that, Jehue and I are like clones.
As his own imaginary flesh and blood, I have a special protective instinct towards him. So, take warning: stop blighting the boy by asking what the “guavament’’ going to give him. Jehue is much too sensible, focused and humble to be spoilt by the bandwagon-joiners, bargain hunters and the quick-fix specialists.
“I want to stay humble and stay hungry,’’ he told interviewers after his win. Now there’s a lad who has his head on straight.
All the overflow of attention and the shouting of his name will not keep him on the track to greatness. What he needs is what he already has—strength of character. He needs peace and quiet, a strong coach, good, unselfish friends, a loving family, and time. Know what he likes to do for fun? Spending time with his younger brother, Zaid.
This is a young man who is motivated by adversity and does not need our distractions. In 2008, a landslide took half his family’s house in the hills of Maraval. Did he boo hoo over it? He told a BBC interviewer that after the loss, he trained “like a beast’’ because he had to become something good to help his family.
So, here’s the deal. Celebrate Jehue, don’t kill him with accolades. Give him room to fail because there will be disappointments. Give him the opportunity to grow up into a really good man, not just a good athlete. “Being great doesn’t come in a hurry,” Jehue told a local blogger after the Olympics. He has learned the value of patience. Don’t spoil that for him with your hysterical urgings.
The rules of engagement if you want to celebrate Jehue are as follows:
1. Be respectful.
2. His career is gathering pace. Don’t take away that hunger from him by making him feel he has already done it all.
3. Don’t overwhelm him with unsolicited advice. He clearly has the best counsellor in the world—his mother. She is the first person he credited after winning in Moscow, declaring that she always told him to dip his head at the finish. Mom of the Year!
4. Don’t ask for him for anything. He signed with Adidas about three years ago but that is his business, not yours.
5. Make him proud of us. He could not stop praising T&T on the international stage. He decided to train locally and study sport management at UWI, instead of grabbing a scholarship overseas. He wants us to believe in ourselves, to know we can achieve big things on our own strength and faith and courage. Give Jehue reason to keep believing that. Don’t wait to see what next he is going to do remind us of our birthright. If you really want to celebrate this young champion, be a champion yourself.
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