Celebrating success can be hard

I think I was one of only two people in the Koru lounge this morning who clapped when Oracle successfully defended the America’s Cup.  I was one of a handful who clapped when Team New Zealand crossed 44 seconds later.

Oracle had a stunning success. No doubt about it. Caught cheating, they paid the price for their crime which almost wiped them off the course.  Aotearoa was fast, very fast, and importantly faster than Oracle for the first week. But Oracle dug deep and made its boat even faster.

Would this have happened against the other challengers?  Probably not, Oracle would probably have won on their slower boat anyway.  You might think its a rich man’s sport, their toys on the world stage. Might be. The All Blacks aren’t playing a poor man’s sport,  but we don’t accuse them of the same.  Without the power of Team New Zealand and Oracle in competition we wouldn’t be seeing the technology, the innovation and the outright excitement of these boats.  Think of the Pumas in the Rugby Championship – there to get better from playing us.

My son Thomas graduated this week in a ceremony with 500 or so others.  All successful.  In different ways.  But Thomas was the most successful person there for me!  Well done mate!.  He drove himself to success by building higher steps to climb (and he’s got more going on now).

I hated and loved this America’s Cup all at once. I hated the stress of the last few days.  Hell! Their boat really is faster!  Oh no!.  But the beauty of the boats gliding, the work of the crews, Barker’s graciousness and maturity, that New Zealand was behind much of all of this, including Oracle’s boat and crew.  That’s success.  All of which we should celebrate.

I felt the grief of losing.  Felt for Barker actually. The shock, the anger, the resentment but then the acceptance and hope. Hope for more of the same, another America’s Cup please, but I’ll be promising myself to enjoy the moment as much as I enjoy the prospect of NZ winning.  That’s my little promise to myself.

What a journey. Got to enjoy it on the way.  Even if we can’t now, we will when we look back.


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