Failure won't break us

Rachel Dawson and the U.S. field hockey team suffered key losses to New Zealand and South Africa, and are now fighting for 11th place, instead of the Olympic medal they had hoped to win. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

The Olympic experience -- for both the triumphant and the defeated -- is powerful. So powerful, that poems are written about it, songs sung of it and movies made of it, but most of all, dreams are born of it. Long ago, mine were, and, in a way, I believe they always will be.

The Games are an opportunity for common people to seek uncommon greatness through sport. But everyone at the Olympics doesn’t find greatness here. All are not crowned winners. In fact, most fail in the pursuit of gold.

We failed, epically. We came here with a plan, and we failed in that plan. We weren’t good enough, sharp enough or disciplined enough. And for our failure, there is no one to blame, no fingers to point and no criticism to deflect. It is on us. Too often, when we needed to stand up and make important plays, we didn’t. And for our performance, we got what we deserved: a playoff game for 11th place Friday morning.

Though we've accepted our responsibility in creating our fate, digesting our failure has been no less difficult. A few days ago, I didn’t know how I’d be able to take the field again. My soul had been ripped raw and my greatest fear had been given a voice: Perhaps I'd never be good enough to compete with the best.

But somehow, in the days and hours since, my fear has subsided. I've found simple joy in simple moments: lying on the grass with my sister at Hyde Park, watching and celebrating the amazing achievements of others, competing at hockey tennis on the village turf, sharing smiles at the neighborhood coffee stand and, most of all, while training intensely with my teammates.

It seems a great truth has come of our failure. We are incredibly resilient, and our spirit will prevail. Tomorrow, we will throw our shoulders back, stand tall, and we will fight like hell to earn 11th place.

Someday, down the road, I know I’ll be incredibly thankful our Olympic journey didn't go as planned, because I’ve always believed the greatest of triumphs are born of great failure.

Thank you all for reading and supporting us on our journey. I challenge you to always pursue greatness. Failure won’t break you, either.