Match

Are you more of a corporate manager, or a children’s show presenter?

Do you have the time to enter an ultramarathon or are you better off focusing on the problems in front of you?

Will a holiday away actually be relaxing for you? Or should you rather sleep in at home?

Will you benefit from buying that new iPhone, or should you put the money into a savings account?

I think all of the options above are valid. They just need to match up with the rest of your life to avoid angst.

Teenagers

My time as a teenager obsessed with sport has run out, of course. I’m older but I still love sport. I wish I could have the chances I had again. It makes me nostalgic to think of chances missed. But I digress.

This morning I took one of the girls to the clubhouse (we’re staying at a golf resort, leaving tomorrow – which reminds me I need to play again before we go) for a drink and snack. Still early, there was a golf competition about to get under way. There must have been around 60-70 teenagers all warming up, practicing putting and looking very serious about the game ahead. My guess is it was a junior provincial tournament.

South Africans have very high standards for organising sport and youth in sport. There is so much for a child to do in SA compared to other countries, especially in Africa. This applies to most sports. As they grow up, my girls can surf, play soccer, netball, hockey, squash, swim, cycle, run, and have the facilities to do it for years and at a high level if they choose. This is unique in Africa.

The teenagers were funny to watch. There is a certain seriousness mixed with awkwardness that attaches itself to teenage sport. I remember it well.

They had a hot day well spent under the African Sun.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods has completed a comeback for the ages, winning his 80th (!!) PGA tournament after huge public meltdowns, divorce, multiple surgeries, and all the uncertainty that goes with it. I am a big fan. I think this comeback is a great thing.

Why is this great? I saw on Twitter a person questioning why so many people are interested and are applauding Tiger when he has clearly shown his faults and vices to us over the years. The basic gist was that he’s a nasty man not worth celebrating. He’s a womaniser and a snob. A drunken philanderer. A thug Alpha Male. But this simplistic assessment misses the point.

So what is the point then? The point is that we see ourselves in Tiger. We see a microcosm of all our talents, our possibilities, all our failures and all our potential for redemption. His is a complete comeback story with a near-perfect arc in terms of drama and recovery. To write off such a story as immoral and uninteresting is to misunderstand what being a human is. We humans relate best to stories. To archetypes. Tiger’s story has everything required for an amazing spectacle. He has been through hell and come out the other side with a new back and a changed personality. And my God, he plays nice golf!

Judging celebrities is easy. What’s rare is a celebrity who can offer us such a journey to the top, the bottom and back up to the top again. Enjoy the drama as it unfolds in real-time. I’m backing him to win another major soon.

 

Ability versus skill

I am learning how to swim again. I used to swim in teams at school until the age of 13, and then I just stopped. Last year I entered a triathlon and felt like I was nearly drowning on the swim leg so I resorted to breaststroke. Not exactly “captain speedy”. I decided to enlist some help.

My point is that I have to believe I can improve through practice and learning. It was so tempting after that triathlon to say I was just “not a swimmer” and that those who swim fast have the right genes for it. However, from that point of view, it’s a short step to copping out of anything and also to something altogether more¬†sinister¬†such as racism and eugenics.

Ability is inherent, but not so important. Skills are learned, and largely dependent on culture and attitude. I will be a better swimmer if I train.