Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The Handshake Viewed Around The World
By Robert H. Kelly
My dear departed grandmother was the salt of the earth. Her entire life she lived by a code. That code was “Always take the high road.”
When I was very young and I would hear her say that, I never really knew what she meant. I thought because she lived her early years in West Virginia and the area was prone to flooding; it meant to keep away from the rising water. Not to put yourself in a situation where you can cause yourself and your loved ones any harm.
As I grew older, I came to know the true meaning of her code. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about it. It is very obvious to me that one your man in Turin, Italy took that code to heart.
Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis finally shook hands. A simple handshake. That was all it was. But it spoke volumes. And that is what people love to see.
Was it a show of respect or a show for the cameras? That is anyone’s guess? But Wednesday night, at the Piazza Castello, the handshake happened. The handshake that the previous day Davis stated would have liked to receive after his 1000 meter victory.
As Davis stepped up on the medal platform to receive his silver medal for the 1500 meters, Hedrick reached over and shook his hand. Actually Hedrick had to reach up, as he was on the bronze medal platform, but this handshake was a gesture, and it made everyone happy.
In fact, Hedrick actually used gold medalist Enrico Fabris as a guardrail as he leaned over to offer the handshake. A happy Fabris smiled and gave both a high-five.
This was a pleasant change for the previous day’s post race press conference.
Opinions were given and hostility was evident as Davis stormed from the conference, obviously upset.
“It started to become a soap opera in there, so I decided to leave,” Davis said.
Hedrick was quoted in saying, “"I've got a 10K to worry about. He's (Davis) got two medals in his pocket so he's done great. He's competed at an awesome level and I hope to go and finish it for our team”
The two had not spoken to clear the air, though Davis seems to leave the door open for the prospect after the Olympics.
"Whatever happens, happens. I'm open to anything. It's just too bad that things got blown out of proportion the way they did. It shows that we're not perfect as human beings. None of us are perfect."
Davis even went further to state he is pulling for Hedrick to win the 10,000 meters. "I'm still rooting for him. He is an American."
So the saga goes on. Two young men very entrenched in their ideals. Conflicts were bound to occur. What will happen from this point on is anyone’s guess? I can assure you of one thing. One young man took the high road today. It doesn’t matter the reason. That is always the road best traveled. My grandmother knew it, I learned it, and he experienced it. That young man and everyone involved will reap the benefits for it for years to come.