This is a story of a young man aged 22, who was trapped in the tunnel on his way out of the tunnel. He said, “I had to brake really heavily and stop driving quickly to look in my rear-vision mirror. I saw what was happening and it was likely that a car would hit the back of my car. Even worse there was a young girl in the car in front of me, in a small car, and it would have directly into her which would have probably have killed her. I braced and got ready for it to happen, but I couldn’t go forward anymore, and I thought I would go to the right lane, but instead I was trapped, and I had no where to go. Nothing at all to do, I felt very small and tried to go to the right hand lane after the impact but my car went into the car in front of me which enveloped the girl who I tried to save. Obviously the major component of the accident was the size of the huge trucks that were behind me. They were B-double freight trucks, and there were two men sitting in the truck cabin, one with his foot up on the dashboard. I had nowhere to go. There was nothing at all I could do. I felt so small. I tried to go to the right lane after the impact, but was pushed directly into the car in front of me. I couldn’t see anyone and didn’t do anything. I wanted to get out of the tunnel as I was just at the tunnel exit, try to drive over the emergency lane, but my car was really badly crushed and twisted. I myself was shaking like a leaf”.
He then talked about the aftermath of the accident. All that day, when he went home he felt a terrible feeling of guilt about having wrecked his parents’ car which was quite a new Toyota. He talked about feeling bad and the feelings of guilt and shame that came over him. As he talked more and more to his family, over the next five hours, he gradually talked himself out of the bad feelings.
The same young person was at that time in active training for the 2020 Olympics, which were to be held in Tokyo. He had just spent that day feeling terrible about the accident. The announcement had just been made that the COVID-19 virus was to shut down all training for sports and events, including Olympic training. By evening all his sporting friends came to his house. They had they had just announced that, due to the COVID-19 virus that no one could meet, excepting two people at a time, and the social distancing had to be maintained, a face mask worn if possible, and hands washed every 20 minutes. Within a few minutes all the friends went into his backyard swimming pool. Many were crying, and they were all in such pain because they had just been told, after having trained for long weeks at an athletic training camp, that the Olympics were off.
Then he remembers the next day, that he went to join the group, and there was a lot of crying around him and people were saying that they had to finish in the team this year not next year because they had a lot set on this year not next year. He started to thinking about “What can I do to train myself up even if it is going to be the Olympics in 2021?”. But in the meantime, he went to training absent-mindedly thinking it was on again and it wasn’t on again so he just did some ordinary training after which, during which time he found that has heart was beating far too fast. By the time the next three weeks were finished, new rules were put in place so he was able to do train fully again, which gave him a real breather. In that sense he said he was very grateful for the time that he could now spend resting and wait, then train fully for the Olympics which were to be moved to 2021. That he spoke with great respect for the profession for which he was studying at university, and for the sport for which he was training, was very beautiful and sad.
About a month later the same person, told me how grateful he felt, firstly to be alive and secondly to have gotten through that time when he had been told by the doctors that he couldn’t compete because his heart was beating too irregularly and too fast. His gratitude was so becoming of him because it had helped him to get even more fit. He had been very close to all his friends in the Olympics training programme, and he felt even closer to his best friend who has been also been in a rather difficult position and had become more cautious. Through these difficulties, the two friends had become more gentle, kind and mutually supportive with each other.