Euphoria, appreciation and gratitude filled the airwaves this week at the good news of a successful and high-stakes rescue of a dozen young Thai boys and their soccer coach from an 18-day ordeal trapped miles into a flooded cave complex deep in the mountains of Thailand. A visceral sigh of relief could almost be heard, as mothers and fathers around the world, who’d been transfixed by the extended drama, collectively watched and prayed for a successful outcome, wondering at how the helpless parents of the boys must have been feeling.
I found myself transfixed by the special news account of the rescue, hosted by ABC’s David Muir. Like millions of others, I had been closely following the story, taken by the heroics of the assistant coach and the divers. Especially noteworthy was the special care taken to move the boys immediately to ambulances and hospitals before reuniting them with their families. I watched with bated breath as the last boy and his coach emerged from the abyss, weak, but alive. I also said a silent prayer for the single casualty of the operation, a retired Thai Navy Seal who died preparing the cave for the rescue.
I was especially touched by some of the letters written by parents to the coach, affirming they did not blame him for the dangerous situation the boys had been placed in. Similarly, I was impressed by the coach’s heartfelt apology to the parents for causing danger to the boys. There was no blame expressed on either side and everyone’s energy was focused on a successful outcome to rescue the boys. There was no animus, nor threats of litigation.
Some critics say the 25-year-old soccer coach, Ekapol, should have known better than to take the boys into the cave, given there were warning signs posted outside the entrance discouraging people to enter so close to monsoon season. We also learned over the course of the rescue that he had formerly been a Buddhist monk. Perhaps his training played a role in saving the boys, as he led them in meditative exercises which help them conserve precious energy. He was said to be the weakest of the group, partially because he shared his share of what food they had with others.
The bottom line is that this story ended in gratefulness from a unified world for the dedication of thousands of volunteers and first-responders who were able to save the lives of these precious boys and their coach despite overwhelming odds.
© Tyra Manning 2018