Helping you get through tough times

Brian O’Driscoll deals with disappointment

Disappointment is a cruel mistress. It arrives unexpected, catching you off guard, sweeping you off your feet. This week, Brian O’Driscoll had his crushing disappointment of not playing his final Lion’s game before retirement.

people playing rugbyLast tour

For weeks, newspapers, sports pundits and fellow players were full of talk and praise in anticipation of BOD’s final game. Earlier this year, he announced he would be retiring next year and as a result, the Lions Tour, which comes to a close tomorrow in Australia, would be his final tour.

Team player

BOD is and will remain a legend in the books of rugby history. His dedication to his sport and team has been well documented, playing through injury and difficult odds. For many, he has been held up as an inspiration to perseverance; pushing through problems that would make lesser men throw in the towel.


But yet, in a cruel twist of fate, it was announced earlier this week that he would not be leading the team out, or in fact even playing in his final Lions game. Everyone – from journalists to fans – were caught off guard and outraged. At the centre of it all is a man who has had a treasured moment taken from him.

Cannot be changed

Disappointment affects us all; from superstar to regular joe and there’s no magic solution to deal with it when it crosses your path. Usually, as in this situation, it’s not something that can be changed or remedied.

In a career of glittering moments and pride, I imagine this will be a sore point for O’Driscoll for many moons. Tomorrow’s game will come and go and whoever the victor is, O’Driscoll will not be able to be a part of it. 

As a result, it can be difficult to try and find closure.

When a situation comes to its natural or expected conclusion, you can try and prepare yourself for the finality of it. But, when it comes sooner than expected or completely out of the blue, you can be left feeling lost and unsure of how to move on. 

Expressing your feelings

There’s nothing wrong with experiencing a mixture of feelings after suffering a disappointment; anger, hurt, upset, hard done by, sad or anything else. But, storing these feelings inside you won’t help you get past the disappointment. We can also learn something from BOD’s reaction too. He tweeted: “Obviously totally gutted at being left out for deciding test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through.”

Express what you’re feeling – whether through talking, physical activity, listening to music or punching a pillow if that’s how you feel – you can help find closure for yourself.  You can reconcile yourself with what’s happened, but you can’t do that by pretending you feel fine or telling yourself to “get over it”.

Doesn’t define you

In a way, it’s a loss, so it’s perfectly natural and healthy to mourn a loss. Just do so in a way that’s not going to cause you more harm. 

In time, the wound will heal over and the initial sting will fade away. You might always carry the scar, but you’re not alone, all of us have scars of disappointment.

The important thing to remember is that this moment does not define you, it doesn’t take away from your accomplishments, or determine your path for the future and it isn’t everything you are.

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