Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Excellence in mediocrity

This is a typical day on the ski fields for me:


No, I am not exhausted from carving white powder all day.

I'm just pretty much passed out from all the contact my bottom has made with the snow. In the last hour.

I took my first snowboard lesson back in 2006 and I'm proud to say that I have managed to return home after almost every single snowboard outing with strange bruises in strange places.

In 2006, I got hit on the back of my head by the chairlift after I ungracefully fell when trying to get off.

In 2008, I mysteriously managed to sprain my ankle despite wearing solid snowboard boots that are meant to protect one's ankles from that precise injury.

This year, I could not even remember how I ended up where I did because I took a tumble so fast I'm sure I blacked out for a few mircro-seconds (I also had really bad whiplash the next day). I also amazingly bruised my spine with my board when I did a face plant.

I still cannot go up a J-bar and T-bars are only possible when I can cling on to D for balance.

This is unlike my friend J who took a morning, yes, one morning, to learn how to snowboard. He did not take lessons. He taught himself. And he's good - the morning I went boarding with him, I'm sure I fell at least 10 times compared to his, well, he didn't fall.

Maybe it's because he's an accomplished skier. Or maybe it's because I suck.

Oh, I can get off a chairlift now without losing balance and I can go down a slope without falling. But I'm not the fastest boarder on the slopes and give me an icy patch and you'll have a really enjoyable time seeing my fall over again and again. I don't do S-turns very well and I hate going down a slope backwards.

I guess I'm what you call mediocre.

I'm mediocre at snowboarding, I'm mediocre at touch football, I'm mediocre at driving, I'm mediocre at knitting, I'm mediocre at my job....heck, I'm medicore in the way I look and the way I dress too.

And when I think about just how mediocre I am, my self-esteem takes a big hit.

But what is it about us and society that we only celebrate the biggest, the fastest and the best? We have Olympic records, we have the Guinness book of records, we have all sorts of records to recognise excellence in (insert appropriate category here).

The problem with wanting to be the best/biggest/fastest is that somewhere and some time down the line, someone will beat you at it. And then what?

And it's our innate need to constantly compare ourselves to others that will invariably let us down. When we see how well others perform, our mediocrity becomes even more glaring.

But is being mediocre all that bad?

I still like to snowboard, particularly when I start gaining speed down the slopes and know that I'm still in full control.

I still enjoy touch football, if only because I get to laugh and have fun with friends.

I still drive a car that I can actually afford and have not been the cause of any accidents.

I still love knitting because it gives me an avenue to explore my creativity.

So what if I'm mediocre in everything I do?

I may not win awards, prizes or commendation for my efforts, but I know how good it feels to laugh, to feel your cheeks flushed from running and to truly experience life.

And if that's not enough, I know I excel in mediocrity and my mum is still my biggest fan.

1 comment:

Lee Clarke said...

You know you have mananaged to somehow sum up pretty much how I feel. And I think I am happy with mediocre.

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