And there you have it, the greatest lesson we as civilized humans can learn! No matter how hard you work, no matter how well you perform, you are not always given what’s due. C’est La Vie! The sooner you learn this, the better off you’ll be. For some school comes easy, and A’s are simple to come by. For others, school is extremely difficult and C’s, despite long hours of studying, are common place. Some of us are natural athletes, excelling in all arenas. Some of us have trouble simply walking up stairs without falling. Some of us are computer whizzes, some of us have trouble turning the blasted machines on. Some people are calm and patient, others have short fuses and are hot tempered. You get what I’m saying? Some people have obvious talents, others are jacks of all trades or simply mediocre at many.
The world doesn’t care, it goes on regardless of your personal struggles, your gains, your losses. In everything, there are winners and there are losers and we must learn to be gracious in both. Life on the road, on the kayak circuit, in our case, is proving to be the most freeing experience of our lives and the most educational. We are having the best time of our life. In the rivers we are pushing ourselves to levels we never thought possible. I for one am growing exponentially and I know the kids and Dan are too. We are not bringing our schoolwork, we are not hooked up to TV’s or the Internet, in fact, we couldn’t tell you what was going on in the world if our lives depended on it and we love it. What we are learning is so much more valuable. We are living and breathing each other. We are living out a dream and in that dream there is the capacity to grow in so many wonderful ways as a family, as brother and sister, husband and wife, mother and child and father and child. This past weekend was one of the best we’ve had so far. It had all the aspects of the perfect movie. Triumph, defeat, struggle, success, fear, adrenaline … it was amazing! The most glaring lesson this past weekend was that strife makes or breaks a person, it can make you a quitter or it can make you even more determined. What Dan and I saw is that difficulty, unfairness, complete and utter wrongs, makes our kids more determined and does not bring them down even one notch in the happiness quotient.
Grady faced strife this weekend in Buena Vista. We, of course being KelloggShow, have the entire competition on tape and he has reviewed it and reviewed it, being ever critical, as he often is, of himself. He cannot find, nor can we, any failure on his part to not have secured 3rd place in the Junior Mens Competition, yet he was scored tying for last place. It’s simply not possible, except when accounting for human error. After the results were announced, Grady was shocked and Dan and I were fuming. Dan was ready to take the place down, he stormed over and asked to see the score sheets. He was prepared to go head to head, but alas the score sheet for Grady was missing. This gave him time to chill out, it gave Grady time to review the entire competition, he scored it every which way and the fact is he was robbed. But, that’s life, nothing you can do about it. How many times have we watched an NFL game where the refs completely blew a call resulting in a game changing play? It happens every season, several times. Those players could dwell on the unfairness, they could cry foul and become incapacitated by it but they choose to acknowledge that it’s part of the game and move on. No-one is perfect, no-one is faultless, they do the best they can and sometimes mistakes are made … it’s not the norm, and everyone takes solace in that fact.
Such is life, right? A very dear friend told me this is the nature of the game. But it’s also the nature of life. You gotta be ready to roll with the punches or you won’t be much of a paddler, much less a human being. We vowed we wouldn’t become one of those soccer mom, overbearing kayaking parents. You know, the ones who are always critiquing their kids rides, forcing practice time and yelling at judges. This has to remain fun, for everyone. First I couldn’t begin to critique much more than a wet exit, second, I can’t get our kids out of the water and third, I want this to be fun, not a job, and certainly not something that puts any pressure on the kids. We are doing the circuit because Grady wants to make the USA Freestyle Kayak Team, not because I want him to, or Dan wants him to. He’s having the time of his life, and I wouldn’t ruin that for anything.
Sure, we are competitive, we all love winning, but we love the sport first and foremost. For us, the focus is on living in the moment. And in living you take the good and the bad and you make the choice to be happy or not. That’s not to say you don’t go out harder the next time, that’s not to say you don’t learn not to paddle for 5 hours straight prior to your competition, that’s not to say you don’t learn from your mistakes … as a competitor and a participant in life you always don your game face and go out harder and stronger in all things. But, being happy, choosing happiness, despite difficulty, despite hard times, that’s the pearl in the oyster. We are the pilots of our own destinies, of our own lives and regardless of what any outcome may be, the bottom line is that kayaking makes us ALL happy, very very happy. There is honestly nothing like it, the adrenaline, fear and excitement … and to share in it with our kids? Blessed! The fact that the kids can also compete and have a blast doing it is icing on the cake — it’s not the cake! I’m off to attempt to put some pressure on Kady, who competed for the first time in Buena Vista … I want to attempt more than a face surf and swim today!! ha ha ha
Romans 5:3-4 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.