Alexander Averin

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Olympics


Dear Diary,

Excellence can be obtained if you:
care more than others think is wise,
risk more than others think is safe,
dream more than others think is practical,
expect more than others think is possible.


Here’s a thought, an early morning, listening to the news on the radio thought.

On a day when everyone is (unavoidably) thinking about the Olympics I got to thinking about a word (as you do) – the word is excellence and I wondered (as you do) if everyone probably excels at something, they surely do? What could each of us represent our country at and I am not talking just sport.

What could I excel at?

I struggled here and could only think of spelling and the use of correct grammar and that is not inborn but is the result of an excellent (that word again) South London grammar school education back in the mists of time.  I also have a talent for walking at a very fast speed – I have long legs and walked a lot (everywhere) from an early age and I really enjoyed what I think they now call ‘power walking’. Apart from that I am not sporty at all so could not represent my country at anything in that field.

Tell me one, two or three things at which you think you excel and please don’t be modest. Be objective and reveal your strengths and talents.

Before I go, here is a little bit of excellence from the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

Eton Manor

 The past is all around us, in the air,
the acres here were once 'the Wilderness'-
"Blimey, it's fit for a millionaire"-
where Eton Manor Boys Club came to train;
or, in the Clubhouse, (built 1913)
translated poverty to self-esteem,
camaraderie, and optimism similed in smiles.
Hackney Wick-
fleas, flies, bin-lids, Clarnico's Jam; the poor
enclosed by railway, marshland, factories, canal-
where Wellesley, Villiers, Wagg, Cadogan came,
philanthropists, to clear a glorious space;
connect the power of place to human hope,
through World War One, the Blitz, till 1967...
on this spot, functional, free, real- heaven.
This is legacy-
young lives respected, cherished, valued, helped
to sprint, swim, bowl, box, play, excel, belong;
believe community is self in multitude-
the way the past still dedicates to us
its distant, present light. The same high sky,
same East End moon, above this reclaimed wilderness,
where relay boys are raced by running ghosts.

Carol Ann Duffy

Don’t forget to reveal to me your excellence and hide away all modesty but if you are really stuck then tell me what you aspire to be excellent at (I am sure that 'at' at the end of the sentence is very bad grammatically, so no Olympic medal for me today).  I think it should be at what do you aspire to be excellent? :-)

Bye for now,


Anonymous said...

Well it was lovely to see a new commentator on my blog, thank you. I looked at your profile, it could have been me in many respects. Cloudwatching, sleeping... my favourite pastimes list includes these as well as daydreaming (I excel at this I think), listening to classical music, and books. Where would I be without them? Well I'd have more time for other things and a lot more space in the house, but how boring my life would be!
Things I excel at other than procrastination (I find making a decision harder as I get older, much harder, a real ditherer am I) are being a good listener (and counsellor at one time), baker of cakes and changing my mind!
And to be honest, the whole Olympics thing just leaves me cold.

Vee said...

Excellence is something I gave up a long time ago. I could never achieve it so to preserve my sanity (vanity, too, I suppose) I quit. I am excellent, though, at wasting time.

Mac n' Janet said...

I'm afraid that I'm a Jack (Jill) of all trades and a master of none.
I paint and wish, and try, to do better.
I play piano, but I'm still a beginner.
What I'm probably the best at is reading, I read quickly and enjoy all types of books, I've read well over a 100 books in the last year.
So if I were to enter the Olympics I guess it would be as a reader.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Oh Cate, once again you speak to my heart.
The poem is great and I am forwarding on to my children and grandchildren.
Do not know if I have been excellent.
But, on my own over 30 years ago,
struggling with my future.
I dreamed big, took risk with my building and moving and many shook their heads as I continued on.
I think I made it and my reward is this simple late in life cottage at the edge of the woods.
Again, thank you...

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

I'm thinking along the lines the same as 'Vee', I'd like to excel at writing and being patient though! Oh and tolerance...I always need more of that..


debbie bailey said...

I excel at making childrens' clothing; smocking and French handsewing. I'm pretty good on the piano and can cook well. I keep a clean house and am good at decorating. I real well, much, and often. I'm a good photographer and writer. I think the best thing I excell at is learning. I'm a voracious learner which has enabled all the above things to come true.

Nan said...

First I so love the Durer. I have a print (cheap) of that very picture, and it is the only thing that has never moved in 31 years of living in this house. :<)
I'm good at remembering birthdays and some phone numbers. I'm a good listener. I'm quick to 'get' things. My gifts are mostly emotional rather than physical though I could play Field Hockey in high school. Still my favorite sport in the world, and I keep thinking if they would feature it, I mean really feature it, at the Olympics, more kids would take an interest. We are losing out to soccer over here.

Pam said...

I don't think I excel at anything!
I think I rate on the scale of very good - very good teacher, daughter, wife, mother and daughter in law. I'd like to excel at the 'cooking and painless entertaining' combination- but then I'd probably be as painfully smug as those that I see excel in it!!

Lynn said...

This all modesty aside, right? I excel at staying calm in emergencies, I excel at appreciating natures and life’s seasons, I excel in making a darn good cup of tea. Have a pleasant evening, Cait.

Pam said...

Oh Cait - I think I excel at lucid dreaming, but then there's no-one else who can appreciate the visuals and gasp "Wow!" - only me!!

Pondside said...

Okay, all modesty aside - I excel at my work, at singing babies to sleep and at finding my way in strange, new places.

Susan said...

I love that Maggie said cloudwatching :)
It is hard to say what you feel you are excellent at - I have always admired people who can claim bragging rights to things because it is hard to claim that.
I think I aim for excellence in my poetry and once in awhile come out with one that says exactly what I wanted to say - which makes me very happy. I think I have excellent moments in mothering over the last 26 years of doing so. Try to take excellent photos and succeed some of the time. Easily excellent at nattering about - and I mean that, there is some skill from taking great pleasures from small things, and I am excellent at it as long as I don't allow guilt to creep in. Great question!

Friko said...

I am a great survivor. A survivor in the teeth of disaster, chaos, danger and ill-health. Does that count?

Felicity Hayes-McCoy said...

I love this blog post and all its comments.

Don't know what I excel at, perhaps at trying to live one moment at a time. Like Debbie, I keep a clean house. It's one I've spent a lifetime moving towards and eventually finding. So I guess I'm also good at putting one foot in front of the other and not second-guessing where I'm going to end up.

Mac n' Janet said...

Cait, just wanted to tell you that I nominated you for a Sunshine Award, please don't feel obligated to answer the questions, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog!