The wonderful news about the young Thai football team being rescued from the caves has been understandably gripping the world this past fortnight. The incessant babble of Brexit has bypassed me entirely and I was listening for updates on the lads daily.
The idea of being trapped in such a manner is unfathomable. In this day and age, we tend to think we can solve anything. ‘Oh, they’ll just drill down and hoist them out,’ or, ‘oh, we’ll send people down there and they’ll just bring them back out’.
But as has been reinforced as this story unfolds, nature is something that cannot be controlled.
Even the fact that it would take about six hours to dive, swim and climb back out from the area of the caves in which the boys were trapped, is simply astounding. That is the equivalent for a British child of an entire school day. You could drive to Land’s End in that time.
And then there is what would, for many of us, be sheer terror at the confinement in small spaces. Let alone the prospect of diving for the first time in your life, not in a serene atmosphere with calm and collected thoughts and because you want to, but because you will die if you don’t, and you may even die trying.
The initial jubilation at finding the boys alive was of course then offset by the fact that it could take months to get them out, but nature played her hand again this week and forced the Thai rescue efforts to commence apace.
These young lads will need far more than just physical checks and support once they are home, I imagine. The emotional toll of such an extraordinary event could be vast for some. But what a tale to tell. Not one that I would wish on myself or anybody else, I must admit, but there will be some grandchildren decades in the future I suspect who will sit agog at the knees of their grandfathers, listening to the story of a lifetime that captured the support of the world.
THANKFULLY THOSE BOYS WERE RESCUED BY HUMANS
Elon Musk, the inventor of Paypal and techie bloke who shot a Tesla car into space with a dummy strapped into the driving seat, also became involved in the rescue of the Thai lads. Or at least he tried to.
Musk had a variety of ideas to aid the rescue efforts, one of which apparently involved an inflatable tube that would displace the water in the tunnels and allow the boys to walk back through it.
This screams one word to me: puncture!
The idea that he battened on to though, and has left with the Thai authorities, is a child-sized submarine which would enable the boys to travel in it through the caves.
Thankfully it seems the most basic choice was taken, and the boys were removed and brought to safety by human beings.
… AND WHAT OF THEIR COACH?
Little mention has been made of the coach with whom the boys were trapped.
What a dreadful responsibility to have had, and something I am sure he will be torturing himself with mentally for years to come.
Children, or the majority of them, have an advantage over we grown-ups in that they tend not to overthink or analyse things quite as much as we do.
Adults have the ability to drive themselves to the brink by dwelling and obsessing over ‘what if’ thoughts. The ‘should haves’ and ‘would haves’ and ‘could haves’ can break us if we allow them to, or if we are too emotionally drained to regulate them.
Even trying to mentally and physically keep the children as safe as possible while awaiting rescue must have been utterly consuming.