©Adam Angel - All Rights Reserved
"Where did that kid come from?"
My daughter is a great skier, but a bit on the lazy side for a competitor.
The first run of her first race of the season had everyone asking. "Where did that kid come from?" I couldn't believe what I had just seen. When did she practice that? It certainly wasn't when any of us were watching.
We were in a new position now. Third place after the first run.
Asia and her friends are still young enough that they don't pay attention to the time board at the race finish. They'd rather play in the snow than fret over times, which is great!
The coaches have a policy of not discussing their time with them. Rather treating each run as its own entity. I get that, and agree with the idea, mostly....
In my mind I fast-forwarded to the days where her time and podium position began to matter to her, and she hadn't learned "the lesson." I figured the stakes would only grow more as time went on, so we might as well learn the lesson now.
I told her the first run time. If they were to stop the race right now, she would be in third place. On the podium!
She was super excited. She told her friends, her coach and anyone who would listen. Let the gloating begin!
Never mind she still had the second run to race...
The second run came and you can guess what happened. Not nearly as good.
But good enough for 8th place overall, Top Ten.
She was bummed. (An 8th place finish should have made her happy, as she'd never been anywhere near the top 10.) She had tasted third place, and that was the only result that would make her happy now.
I could tell the coach was irritated that I had brought attention to her first run time.
My perspective was that it was better to have this experience now than when the stakes are higher.
She now knows, that no race is over until its over, and that it is best to keep her mouth shut until she's delivered the goods. I think she felt a bit silly for telling everyone how she would count the winnings before she had finished the second run. We supported her through this process, she understands what she did, and is not only a better competitor now, but better equipped for life.
This is exactly the kind of thing that sport teaches so bluntly, and why we do it.
Everybody "thinks" they can do it. Climb Mount Everest, win a race, become famous, the list goes on and on. Don't let your kid sit at the computer or at the finish line just living in a made up fantasy. Let them try their best and feel the full brunt of the inevitable failures they will feel along the way. Then pick them up and dust them off. They'll soon see that failure and disappointment are just part of doing business and then move on with ease. After all, failure is only as a big of a deal as we make of it.
Where did that kid come from and where is she going?
When this pig spoke, I was as surprised as you. Over the years his profundity would save me time and time again. He was a lot smarter than me and made it look easy when he taught my daughter about life. Hell, he was a great mentor to me as well. Luckily I wasn't too stubborn to meet this pig and hear what he had to say. It's all been worth it.
She wasn’t always skilled and fast. She didn’t always have a winning attitude. This whole experiment was on a path to the bottom. She should have given up. I should have given up. For reasons I’ll never know, I pushed. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year. It went nowhere, in fact I think we went backwards for huge chunks of time. She totally sucked, and finally I told her so. That was the turning point.
Before you head off to college and choose a major know this. There are no safe jobs anymore, there are no fallback professions. Career paths and industries are dropping like flies, and things change so quickly it’s a full time job to simply keep up. The professions that do survive are full of superstars at the peak of their game. If you want to register on the scale of competency, you’d better be ready to take everything a notch up, year after year.
You know that adulthood has arrived when you stop asking for permission. You start realizing that you are the most qualified person in the room and it's best to own the decision and spare the time sucking drama of debate and consensus. I'm not throwing consensus out the door, it WILL come later if you adhere to the checklist below.
I often say that the ultimate metaphor for life is climbing a mountain, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's no adequate metaphor for life other than itself, or maybe I have it backwards. If you can push your goals to the limits of your resources and ambition, life's long lessons will more than adequately prepare you for any challenge you will find on the side of a mountain. Having just finished a project that took 10 hard years to finish, I look at ongoing projects that have no end in sight until surely my hair is gray. Climbs last a few days, a few weeks, even months. So I ask you this...
How can a mountain possibly be a large enough measuring stick with which to measure the realities of life?