The Football (or Soccer, for all you Philistines) World Cup is now almost over, and although I don’t tend to pay attention to most things sport related, I couldn’t help but get caught up in all the excitement. Although I haven’t watched any of the matches, I have stumbled upon some highlights late at night, and sat glued to the TV as I watch the skill of the players.
I think I’m quite unusual for a man in that watching televised sport, generally doesn’t appeal to me. I can certainly appreciate the athleticism demonstrated on the pitch, and certainly understand the commitment that the team members have clearly had, to rise to the top of their sport, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. If you have ever been to a local park on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, you are sure to see sweaty and often overweight middle aged men running around after a football. Unfortunately, they think that they still have the skills and fitness of their teenage selves, but it becomes clear, after about 20 minutes that this just isn’t the case. They certainly don’t have the fitness, and it is debatable whether they had the skill in the first place. When they realise these facts they will continue the game, trying to take lumps out of the opposition, or shouting a lot. I know because I have been one of those men. Never-the-less these blokes will turn up week in week out, regardless of the weather and have a marvellous time. Later on that evening, you can all but guarantee that there will at least one of these older guys stuck in a wheel chair at the local Accident and Emergency department, demonstrating that their pain threshold is of a similar level to the professionals they so idolise.
Less dangerous, (but a million times more embarrassing) are pubs which host regular karaoke nights. Most folk will go along for a bit of a laugh and may get up and sing a song. But there will be one or two people who will have “their song”, often a ballad. Every week they will belt it out, usually closing their eyes, and slowly raising a clenched fist during the crescendo. For that moment, they are no longer in the Nag’s Head, but at Wembley Arena in front of several thousand adoring fans. When their turn is over the MC may have to wrestle the microphone from their hands. Again I know. I’ve been there, and in case you are interested, the song was “Stairway to Heaven”, with a rather spectacular (even if I do say so myself) air guitar solo, for my audience to enjoy.
Those men and women who do become professional sports people or musicians, have to be some of the luckiest people alive. They get paid for doing a job which they absolutely love, and if they are really good (or really lucky), they get exceedingly well paid into the bargain. They can become internationally recognized and are an inspiration for a generation of youngsters. But I’m sure it’s not without sacrifice. They will have had to work exceptionally hard, day after day, at their chosen pursuit, to stay ahead of those who are snapping at their heels.
You see, for those who do make it, there are many hundreds who don’t. There are huge numbers of excellent musicians, who could have made it but; just haven’t been spotted, don’t have the right connections, or just aren’t quite good enough. Even those who do have a modicum of success have a habit of fading into relative obscurity once their 15 minutes of fame have gone. Can you remember more than two or three of the X-factor’s winners? No me neither.
This doesn’t stop people trying though. Some years ago, thinking that I was New Zealand’s cuddly (and somewhat older) answer to Justin Bieber, I auditioned for X-Factor NZ. As you can probably gather, my audition wasn’t appreciated anywhere near as much as it ought to have been (I’m just too far ahead of my time), but at least I had a go.
And finally that brings me to the point of these musings. I want my kids to have a try. Surely it is better to have given something your best shot, than never to have tried it in the first place, and this is a mindset which I’m very keen for my children to adopt. Unfortunately my bank balance(or the time I have available), don’t permit them to have a go at everything, but we are encouraging them to try as many activities as possible. All of that said, whilst I’d like for them to experience as many different things as possible, I would like for them to succeed in at least one of those activities. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t the best in the world, just the best that they can be. This means not giving up at the first sign of difficulty and this will definitely be a case of do as I say not as