Tuesday 27 December 2011

View From The Cheap Seats

A friend sent me this email of two German women doing trick riding on bicycles.

There were a few things that struck me about this video. It seems to be a half time show or demonstration at some high school or college sporting event. It is a pretty good half time show which demonstrates amazing skill, dedication and grace. I have to wonder just how long these girls spend practicing. I have done some riding in my life and when I was younger and less round I would do some tricks on the bike. They mainly involved being stupid on two wheels instead of stupid on two feet, but I was told at the time that I was entertaining. The words “stupid”, “insane”, “foolish” and a few other less flattering descriptive phrases were used. Be that as it may, this kind of riding needs a certain level of athleticism and many, many, many hours of practice. I find myself wondering, why?

Just to perform for a few minutes during half time at some university in the Netherlands? There can’t be any money in this, well, perhaps travel money. The cost seems to outweigh the return. I suppose that we all have the need to be acknowledged in this life. Some of us do trick riding on bicycles, some sing Karaoke, some people volunteer as greeters at the airport and some even write blogs in a pathetic attempt to be loved. I don’t even get travel money! To be fair though, the karaoke people are usually drunk, or at least I hope so.

I found myself watching the girls and thinking “I wonder why they don’t have flashier costumes?  They should have up beat music playing. It would be cool if they could both straddle two bikes.” This brought up something that I have been thinking about today. Isn’t it interesting how “helpful” we are? Someone does something that is pretty amazing and all that we can do is to make suggestions on how they could do it better.

I often comment on what the coach of this team or that team should do. In the first place, I have little or no real coaching knowledge. In the second place, they do have the necessary knowledge. What makes me think that anything that I could think of or say hasn’t been thought of and said by those that are much smarter than I? I bet that the coach is using every trick that he has learned in decades of playing and coaching, living and breathing the game 24/7. I hope that I think of this the next time I start to spout off. I probably won’t.

When someone tells me of the shit that is going down where they work, I can’t help but think I know how to solve the problem. This is the same “I” that hasn’t set foot in the building and has not clue one as to how the difficulty started and what are the underlying facts. I had a huge union to deal with my problems before they even filtered down to me. Maybe I just like to hear myself talk. Maybe?

Over the years I have done carvings for fellow workers that were about to retire. Mainly caricatures that indicate what they would be spending their retirement doing, but they were sometimes recognizable. I did one of a single guy sitting on a few cases of beer reading a Playboy. I did a couple of people going to the golf course and one just sleeping on a pile of mail. They were generally well received, but someone or some two would start to make suggestions. “You should have made his legs thinner.”  “He should have been eating a pizza.” “His eyes were a lighter brown.” The suggestions went on and on. I am not saying that they were wrong, but unless you have done whatever it is, perhaps we should keep our helpful suggestions to ourselves.

There may be some out there that like constructive criticism, but in close to 60 years I have yet to meet one.

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