Eva Bradley: Disappointment is a big word

By Eva Bradley

2 comments
We can't hate Team NZ for losing.
We can't hate Team NZ for losing.

Disappointment is one of those emotions that gets entirely overlooked by all sorts of other more flashy, flamboyant feelings such as love, desire and hate.

But today I'm putting disappointment on top of the podium. It's going to be right up there, soaking up the glory and basking in the spotlight that we all know should have burned brightly on Team New Zealand.

I'm hoping that if I examine my disappointment from every angle and rationalise it, I can get over the way we lost the Cup ... and move on.

Because surely the only thing worse than having endured the endless efforts of the media to froth up a storm of excitement from an increasingly flat crowd of supporters every race day is then having to digest all the post-failure commentary on what went wrong and how we feel about it.

So.

Disappointment.

It's the theme of the week but hopefully one that is just far enough removed from its source for you to tolerate what is essentially another post-Cup-failure commentary.

Yawn.

Most of us now and again have found ourselves in a situation where a boss, partner, friend or customer has told us they love us (hopefully not the boss), they are annoyed with us, or maybe even in the heat of the moment that they hated us.

The latter of these is probably the worst. The worst, that is, until disappointment enters the fray. Even though it is undoubtedly the more minor of many emotions, nothing hits quite so hard as being told by someone whose opinion we care about that they are disappointed in us.

Wives and mothers the world over have used it to brutal effect when yelling and screaming just isn't enough.

There is just something about that phrase 'I'm so disappointed in you' that wounds the heart, pride and soul all in one fell swoop.

Why? Perhaps it is because unlike hatred, disappointment is so totally devoid of passion.

To hate something you really have to put some feeling behind the emotion - you have to care enough to hate.

Sometimes you even have to love something or someone in equal measure in order to flip the coin and embrace love's opposite emotion.

The opposite of disappointment on the other hand could perhaps loosely be considered optimism.

Although it probably doesn't pay to be talking about optimists at a time when some less charitable Kiwis might suggest that boat class is perhaps better suited to our America's Cup sailors.

Either way, disappointment and optimism are some of life's softer, less passionate emotions.

So when someone is disappointed in you, it is like they have written you off as such a failure that you're not even worth getting upset about. Far better to be hated, surely?

I've had plenty of people tell me (mostly online and without their real name) that they hate my column (fortunately more tend to say they love it) and both descriptions seem to involve far too much personal investment on behalf of the reader than should be required from a spot of weekend entertainment.

But how can I say I hate Team New Zealand for losing?

Disappointed in them seems far more reasonable.

And yet when you consider what it feels like to be on the receiving end of one person's disappointment, how could a sailor bear an entire nation's?

With a good breeze and the San Fran current in their favour, I'd be inclined to sail that Kiwi yacht right out of the harbour and park up on an uninhabited Pacific island until the disappointment had died down along with all the hot and dirty air left behind by Pitbull Spithill and his team of merry millionaires.

Eva Bradley is an award-winning columnist.

- Northern Advocate

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