Monday, 15 March 2010

Winning and Whining

I got a lot of comments from people about being disappointed by the race in Merced. It got me thinking about the way we're taught to approach the surprisingly sensitive subject of performance and individuality. We're supposed to be overwhelming humble in victory, and perhaps solemn but still "positive" in defeat. And sportsmanship is great, don't get me wrong; you can win without acting like a tool afterwards, and there's no room anywhere for sulking.

But what I don't like is an anesthetized view of the world that leaves just a narrow window of possible emotions, outside of which you're either an arrogant prick or a hyper-emotional whiney pouty face. Well dammit, if I work my ass off for a long time and have the ride of my life then I'm going to expect a few high fives and a night out on the town (at the least) afterwards. There is, however, a big difference between these two expressions of happiness:

Not classy:

Ballistic happiness, the way it should be:

In the same vein, I think it's important to acknowledge when you screw up, and let yourself get pissed off about it. If you know you did something wrong, yet come out striving for this perpetual "positivity," then you're a lot more likely to never learn from it and just keep repeating the same mistakes. Or worse, you get so used to patting yourself on the back that you don't even realize you screwed up.

So to be clear: internalizing failures and harboring that angry frustrated energy for later is what people do to make themselves get better. Whining and pouting and complaining is what little kids do who don't know how to accept and deal with the problems that confront them. Hopefully it came across that I was doing the former rather than the latter... and if I'm ever in the second category then do your worst to let me know.

Now that we've got that out of the way I can get back to working on finals. I hurriedly learned everything there is to know about seamen (aka Admiralty law) and now I have to quickly forget all of it to make room for the quarter's worth of Civil Rights I need to teach myself in the next 24 hours. If any of my professors knew how to use computers I would be worried about them finding out my tactics.

No matter what, I'll be done with school until October within 72hrs. And I will celebrate. Not quietly. Like this guy: