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Friday, 17 August 2012

35. Shooting for the moon

In a previous piece, I had babbled on about being disinterested in competing with others, preferring to pit myself against self-determined motivators.  But that however, has never ever curbed my somewhat absurdly (now that I think about it!) over-enthusiastic compulsion to sign-up for all sorts of teams during my school years.  Various sports, debating, etcetera.  Perhaps it stemmed from my view of how dire things were at home and a rationale that went: if I am not at home then nobody can pick on me, be malicious or manoeuvre me into barbed corners.  Anyhow, I developed into a compulsive ‘joiner’ – putting my name down on sign-up sheets all over the school, regardless of what the ‘sign-up’ was for. Oh, and I never let a lack of experience or any sort of physical or cerebral limitations deter me either! 

Two memories quickly come to mind:
I think I was 9 and not tall by any stretch of the imagination.  Anyhow, I saw the sign-up sheet for BASKETBALL and thought, “Yeah!  I could do that!”.  Undaunted by my lack of height, I turned up on the first day of tryouts.  Had I ever played OR watched the game before?  No, but I knew how to bounce a ball!  Did I have any clue to the mechanics of the game?  Not really.  Did everyone else turn around to gawk at little-midget-me (compared to everyone else) and stifle a snigger?  Yes.  And yet, I still scampered onto the court and bounced my little heart out.  Did I get a spot on the school team.  Are you kidding?  But hey, I had spunk!

Fast-forward to when I was 16.  Saw the sign-up sheet for the school tennis team and thought, “Yup, I could do that!” and eagerly turned up on the said-day.  Had I ever played tennis before?  Nope.  Did I have any clue to the mechanics of the game?  Well, I DID play “Pong” on the Atari when I was younger and I thought, “Ping pong, tennis.. same-same.  Just more running, right?”  I borrowed a racket and hung back during trials to watch the other girls.  When it was my turn, what I lacked in knowledge and skill, I made up in sheer gung-ho-chasing-the-ball all over the court.  Did I get a spot on the team?  Surprisingly, yes, if only on the B Team!  And I STILL don’t know how I managed it!  Think it was one half fluke and the other half of maybe-the-coach-felt-sorry-for-me!  Ahh, good times.

Globally-treasured prolific wordsmith T. S. Eliot wrote: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find how far one can go”, and as I delve into my memories while writing this, I am reminded of how time and time again, those words have liberated me from insecurities and propelled me to venture further than what I would possibly have dared if not compelled by life’s circumstances (not that I was aware of his wise words at the time, having only stumbled across them 10 minutes ago while researching for inspiration for this piece!).

And so, at 40-something and a mother of three spunky girls, I now actively rally my girls to ‘give things a go’; to be undaunted and courageous in the face of obstacles and most importantly, to dream big.  As such, Faith aspires to be an architect who sings, write books and songs AND dancers on the side; Tia wants to either own a veterinary clinic or become a paediatrician AND write novels in her spare time; and Paige wants to create art that touches the world.  With such big ambitions, I counsel them that as long as they know what they want and are prepared to work hard and stay focused, nothing is impossible.  As author and motivational speaker Les Brown once said, “Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.


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