On Sunday afternoon the kids and I were visiting my dad and trying to explain to him what bitcoin was.
Dad takes in a keen interest in news and current affairs, but was having trouble wrapping his head around the concept of cyprocurrency.
To be fair, I didn’t know much, but the kids were happy to share their Gen-Z wisdom and managed to tell him enough to satisfy his curiosity.
With that problem solved, conversation turned to the Sunday papers and I brought up an article I’d read with the most clickbait of headlines:
“I slept in the splits for years – Jemma McGeachie tied her feet to opposing bedposts and tried to get some sleep. It’s just one of the ways the aspiring ballerina pushed her body beyond normal limits.”
As a former child ballet student who could never do the splits, I couldn’t resist reading on.
The article tells the story of Jemma, a passionate and dedicated aspiring ballerina who dreamed of being a professional dancer.
Unfortunately, despite an incredible amount of sacrifice and literal blood, sweat and tears, she fell short of her goal because she lacked the natural gymnastic-style body she needed to excel in her craft.
I mean – how devastating is that?
I felt really depressed when I finished reading. It seems so unfair that someone could try that hard and fail because of genetic bad luck.
Jemma seems quite well adjusted all things considered, but it made me think of how incredible professional athletes are.
We see them so often on T.V and they make it look so effortless that it’s easy to forget the incredible odds they beat to get there.
“Some people are just born with talent,” Dad said, recalling that in his youth he and his brother decided to take up ten pin bowling. He said they had the same teacher and put in the same amount of practice time, but while Dad became a very good bowler, his brother Lance became a great one.
So great that in 1964 he became national champion.
Dad looked at Laney who, as usual, was busy drawing on her iPad.
“It’s the same with drawing,” he said. “You’re either born with the talent or not.”
But Laney disagreed because she’s put in countless hours of study and practice to be able to draw as well as she does now.
“If I hadn’t practised all the time, I never would have gotten better,” she said.
I know this to be true – and so does Dad – he has a filing cabinet of all her old drawings out in his garage, bless him.
It helps that it’s her passion and she’s got an artistic eye, but I have to agree that she has worked incredibly hard to draw to the standard she does today and the learning never stops.
I guess it’s not unlike any creative pursuit really – whether it’s writing, music, acting or drawing, the more work you put in, the better you get.
Whereas I took ballet lessons for ten years and despite achieving top marks in all my exams, had to give it up because I could never do the splits.
It was just as well really and I’d much rather be a creative anyway.
Did you have athletic dreams as a child that were dashed by genetics?