What Really Saved the Thai Soccer Team

Jul 2018

I was intrigued to receive an article from my colleague Debra Greene regarding the Thai soccer team trapped in the cave. She graciously allowed me to share her insights.

Following their rescue there had been much speculation, even misinformation about how the boys were guided from the cave the 2.5 miles to the entrance.   Much of the focus was on the bravery of the Navy SEALs and divers who navigated the dangerous, murky and cold water to bring the boys safely back.

What may have not been recognized as a major contributing factor to their survival is that their soccer coach was a former Buddhist monk.

Debra  believes that what what really saved the boys – who were trapped in the cave for over two weeks was that their coach taught them to meditate in order to stay calm and reserve oxygen.  The coach, just 26 years old, had been Buddhist monk for 10 years which likely means he may have began meditating himself at a young age.

The rescue operation become critical as oxygen levels in the cave had feel dangerously low, however, the boys emerged emancipated but otherwise in good condition.

Following their release from hospital, the boys and their coach were to spend some days in a Buddhist monastery to bless their new lives and cleanse them.   According to one of the boy’s fathers, it is done to support their healing after such an intense experience.  It’s as if they had died and been reborn.

It is fascinating that no blame has been assigned to the coach who led the boy’s into the cave.  Instead, he has been supported and embraced; held in high regard.

Debra states: “This situation raises the notion of courage and acceptance to a new level. The courage to love all.  No matter what.”

I concur.  If this had happened in North America, who would have been expected to shoulder the “blame”?  How many law suits would have been launched?  How quickly would the coach have been scapegoated and fired?

We have a lot to learn from the families of these boys and who they were able to hold the coach blameless so that everyone can emotionally heal and move past this incident with grace.


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