On Watching the World Cup with my Son - The battle for Third Place
Is the battle for third place really a thing? My sister asked me this or something similar to this last night. Just a few hours earlier I'd mentioned my disdain for participation trophies and such a thing as second third place (aka fourth place). Belgium and England are playing for third place in the 2018 World Cup. Why would they fight so hard for a bronze? ...because it's a bronze. It's a medal. It's a placement in the WORLD CUP. It's not a participation trophy it's a chance to say you're one of the top three teams in the world. That said the World Cup does show the world that participation is still important. Not for the trophy but for the competition. Teams played like hell even during the group stage when they knew they weren't going to advance. Of course third and fourth place matters. But to be clear, third is better than fourth and while lauding effort and accomplishment for making it to the thing should still exist, participation trophies are still looked on with disdain.
I think sometimes we lose sight of the idea that we should work, fight, strive for more even when the rewards are a job well done, a game well played. Sure there may be some personal stats but there's also pride and reputation that on a personal level you've done your best for the team (football team and country).
Also there is a positive message that comes with the shame of losing - Work harder and Do better.
When my son got fourth place in his first TKD tournament he was upset. I spent time letting him know he could do better and with the confidence of a parent I used the lack of a trophy as a tool to convince him that if he worked harder, moved faster, kicked more - maybe kicked more than once- that he'd get a trophy and maybe he could get to first place in his group. But then he found out that he could still have a trophy - that everyone gets a trophy. Okay so i'm not an ass. I didn't crush the kid and tell him he couldn't have the trophy though the thought crossed my mind. I even helped try to find the paper work and graciously thanked the woman acting as keeper of the trophies when she handed one to my kid even without the paper work. The kid was happy. It was time to go get lunch and beer (it was close to Three Floyds Brewery). But I was left with a lingering feeling that I'd lost an important lesson- loss.
Life is filled with wins and losses and both help us figure out what and who we want to be. If the sting of loss is cushioned with reward for showing up, will it still have the same effect? Will the lessons of life be as poignant?
As a see note it's a little weird to see fans wearing what appear to be medieval crusader costumes but that might be my own hang ups with things like crusades.
I'm staring at the maw of 2017 with trepidation and tears floating just behind my eyes- a little excess lubrication to make the night move on a little faster. The reckless abandon of previous years has given way to something unfamiliar for this season and this holiday.
Some anxiety, some kicking some screaming to hold tenaciously to the buttocks of 2016 which as it turns out wasn't as bad as we've made it out to be.
Sure we’ve lost a good number of influentials bards and artists and people who spoke to the spleens and humors but this was a coincidence of timing born of the tumultuous decades prior. We should see a similar shedding in 30 years time. But in my small existence with my small family and even with my larger family life beats steadily on toward the inevitable quietus, the silencing, the Nothing. Or something because just as 2017 will bring a host of unknowns, the undiscovered country will as well. Why ponder the feckless existence, the Sisyphean struggle to wrench from the universe that which she is unprepared to give. All is in the end for naught except as is applies to this immediate existence we must make, shape, push and pull, kick and scream.
The windows cut and the light bar removed the Jeep had known kinder hands. Parked in the space behind apartment buildings and halfway homes it wasn't suited for such an urban scape. Four wheel drive wasted on potholes and puddles, a lemon left in straits of asphalt and stone.
With the sweet notes of Jamesons from a dirty coffee cup and Townes Van Zandt in my ears I am in a breathing procrastination mode. Eyes blurred from the mental cardio of the day and the physical cardio of the five o'clock hour I savor the moment of peace before more storms when want and need collide with thoughts of art and hobby and retail therapy and masturbation - self serving practices all.
The exorcising of demons and pixies, the annoyance of the uncontrollable mischievous meddlers; of sex and violence and horror show croovy in burgundy shades of sanguine mirth A winding capillary style behind eyes, the lingering ice pick that pleads for puncture
I am wasting time and failing to find more remorse than contempt to motivate my hand.
The starts and stops of stark words on white echo the cold spray of autumn rain. Outside drops gather on branches only to well up and surprise the back of my neck Exposed to the chill nail- of that solitary droplet well placed within an upturned collar
Is convincing enough to place me inside and warm.
Let the brave Spiderman Z and M brave the begging queues for candy.
Black IPA in hand I am in the mood to give sugar to pre-diabetic scream queens and demons
Then again, why settle for passive when active brings pleasure beyond hoppy cold comfort Alas Fate you've sends the first foe a 5 year old flamingo to sap my resolve.
I barely survived her crocodile concern a simper- in pink to be sure.
Close to looking with words weaving a patch work of mess Or was it message- defining some sensed granular reality As real as a question on the tip of your tongue When it explodes will you run? Climbing back up your trellis to pull the covers close? Something pure about baring all in a tempest Sirens' calls and lashings, WAX CAN'T SAVE ME NOW! Though my words traverse more tenuously then whimsically Wrapping round icy warmth and rending smiles Desiring only to peel back perfect petals I am freed and fettered by my language in a single breath Caught by some lattice of scorched summers and hardened winters Stretching now to grasp, pull, push and punch at binding vines and wilds Tangles round hands and lips and eyes Interlaced arms pulling closer than so many words unspoken Memories made weave loops lingering, searing senses Striking dumb my once skilled tongue With so much to stumble over Were it not for this lattice, I might never hold on.