Everyone thought I was sad for missing out – but quite the opposite, I was ecstatic to see the Black Ferns win, writes Ruby Tui.
I love to celebrate sport. My whole life I've found pure joy in celebrating sport.
The Commonwealth Games Women's Sevens final was no different. Some might think April is too early to call the 2018 Halberg sporting moment of the year, but I don't. I think they should start engraving "Kelly Brazier" on the trophy now and save us all some time.
Watching the game, I wasn't shocked that my team won. I was absolutely gobsmacked at how enthralling the extra-time final was to watch. I wasn't upset that I wasn't playing, I was overcome with joy seeing my team win after everything we'd been through. I wasn't thinking about what I'd missed out on because I felt like the rest of the country: a part of it.
But people assume my experience wasn't like that.
Since the big game, I'm stopped everywhere I go and it always goes the same way: we agree the final was out-this-world amazing, gasp at Kell's lung-busting try and celebrate reliving the moment together. But then their face changes. I get an over the top sympathetic look and then they all say basically the same thing: "You must have been so sad watching."
Now I'm confused. We just agreed this was one of the greatest games we've ever watched in our lives and suddenly it's one of the saddest moments of mine? I had such a blast contributing to the campaign along with the rest of our 20-women-strong squad.
And then it got me thinking, I gave my absolute best and my team did us all proud however people still turned the focus to me missing out and being "sad." Imagine if I WAS really upset. After just the second conversation I'd be an absolute mess.
I have been a blubbering mess after missing out on a win before. I was 7 years old and couldn't stop crying because I didn't win MVP for my local soccer club and I felt like I deserved it. My parents told me I was still a winner because I had given it my best.
Today I'm a 26-year-old professional full-time athlete and I just, JUST missed out on the 2018 Commonwealth Games. After a lifetime of sporting ups and downs, I now understand what my parents meant. I have to make the decision to celebrate sport and celebrate my achievements because that's what makes life great during the times that seem the darkest.
I know exceptional sportspeople who have missed out on selections or big wins and fallen into unrelenting depression because they forgot how to celebrate their achievements. And maybe someone asked them one too many times if they were "sad" to miss out.
Don't let yourself or the people you care about focus on what you missed out on. Whether we are rugby players or simply trying to be good parents, we can all be positive role models with our words. Let's make the decision to celebrate ourselves.
I love celebrating sport. I love celebrating my achievements. And I encourage everyone else to always do the same.
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