It’s never too late to be what you might have been

As I pulled back the curtains this morning, I watched Carol (my next door neighbour) bring in the union jack that has proudly fluttered in her front garden since the opening ceremony. (She was wearing one of those short shiny red satin dressing gowns. I was surprised, I would have guessed fluffy, pink towelling, but there you go.) Anyway, she’s also just taken down the flag from the inside of their living room window too and I can’t help feeling a little sad that it’s all over.

I loved sport at school. I was never brilliant at anything in particular just pretty good at most things. Tennis, running, netball, volleyball, shot put and later archery and football for Aston Villa. My Dad was the same. Good genes I guess. After watching the amazing athletes night after night and crying at their endurance and brilliance, I can’t stop thinking ‘if only’. As Terry Malloy once said, I could have been a contender. Maybe.

For me the London Olympics was less about being British/Irish or patriotic (although that did get me going at times) but everything about the incredible hard working, talented and spirited individuals who appear to be god like in their pursuit of success. They’ve shown me that dreams are achievable and not just something to put on a list on the fridge and hope it works out. They’ve made me want to work harder at everything I do and I don’t know why, but be a better person. They’ve shown me that there is a way to get what you want, not through reality shows or a lottery ticket like so many attention seeking, talentless wannabe’s, but by getting good at the thing you want to do.

But it’s not about being good is it? It’s about being the best. How many of us start our day thinking I’m going to deliver brilliance today, even if that means exhaustion and pain? I’ll be honest, it’s not usually something I think about as I’m making my first coffee of the day. Mediocrity; average, middling, run-of-the-mill, inferior, second rate. Jesus, what a terrible thing to settle for. I feel a bit ashamed when it’s put like that.

So, my goal today is to do something first class. But it’s probably not going to be the high jump or cycling. Unfortunately I think that ship has sailed.

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