Tomorrow, The Kid is competing in his first taekwondo tournament. Because I’m taking classes as well, I was also invited to participate, but I’m not interested.
Competing doesn’t do much for me these days.
I like to play games, and I like to play hard (sometimes), but mostly, I’m not super-invested in winning.
I like to get better than myself.
It’s exciting when I occasionally accidentally win in pursuit of being better than myself. Like once when I came in second for my age group in a 5k when I was just trying to beat the clock.
Now, I concede that perhaps I don’t enjoy competition in physical things because I’ve not ever been especially good at them.
I have not learned nearly enough about taekwondo form to put mine in front of judges. (You can tell me that the playing field is level, but then you’re not hearing what I’m saying: I want to be better than I am before performing.)
Maybe it’s being raised a musician. Perfection is the goal in any performance, is what we strive for in practice, is essentially unattainable because every skill subset can be honed well beyond anything I’ve ever come close to reaching.
I’ve walked into auditions unprepared.
It feels like shit before, during, and after.
I don’t do that any more. And so, I’m not competing tomorrow.
The Kid? He doesn’t have that baggage. At least not yet.
I just hope for him to enjoy his experience, regardless how he performs.
(I don’t think the same would be true of a musical performance. I would want him to perform well—relative to his skill level—and enjoy it. But not just enjoy it.)
The more I think about this, the more I’m sure there are a million angles that I’m overlooking. But for now—doing my best with what I’ve got. Trying to hone skills in some areas. Enjoying being a hack in others. And not needing to beat anyone else in any of it.