« If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same... you will be a man, my son! » (Kipling)
The night was more difficult than expected for our champions. The efforts made during the week, and especially yesterday, left traces that the boys could hardly hide this morning. However, they were acting seriously, as they do every day. Early wake up, breakfast, PCR test, briefing... a daily routine perfectly respected.
However, we could feel that something was missing. That extra soul had left them a bit. When we went up to the field, their faces were worn out, their legs were heavy and the warm-up was less intense than the other days. I decided to gather them in a corner of the field:
- guys, we promised each other we would be honest to the end. Tell me how you feel and I will help you.
The captain spoke for the whole team:
- Max, we are exhausted, drained! We're trying, but after all we've given this week, today is the game too far...
What a wonderful sincerity! I love these guys! What could be more human than to feel that? I then ironically suggested they go back to the hotel! After all, why stay there if you don't have the motivation? They laughed! They pulled themselves together. For a few moments, they had good reasons to play this game, to play it as well as possible. Never mind the fatigue and cramps. After talking to each other, Leo spoke again:
- this game, we're going to play it for Nacho who has given us so much for years, for Lockdeep and Greg who came to organize this incredible week for us, for our parents and our friends who support us every day, for our country! For us too, because we deserve it!
I had chills! They understood everything... The result of the game is anecdotal. The important thing was elsewhere. Once again, they gave everything with what they still had of energy and passion...
A week ago, the guys came to Croatia to win a gold medal at the European Championship. A week later, they leave without a medal but with priceless rewards in their suitcases. They won the essential: their values, their memories, the path they took. It will stay with them forever. They will win other titles, at any level and in any field. But what they came here to find cannot be won, it must be lived!
Bravo and thank you to this dream team! For me too, it will remain forever engraved in my heart and mind.