Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Solid but unspectacular.

I played volleyball for the first time in over two years tonight, in a local pick-up rec league here in Toronto. I did alright; most of my serves were in-bounds, I had some nice sets and I honed my "volley off the serve" technique in the middle of the back row. Initially I was a little apprehensive, as the friend with whom I went had gone the previous week and described how someone spiked her in the face and that some of these people are pretty hardcore. However, the level of competition was pretty much in my zone, and I held my own. My friend commented my game, and I responded with, "Well, I guess was solid enough, but not really spectacular in any way."

On the drive home I started thinking about how apt a description this is when applied to other skills I have. In my teaching, I think my students get a thorough understanding of the concepts and their applicability to a diverse set of situations, both real and theoretical... but they aren't doing crazy-ass catapult projects. In most sporting endeavours I can hold my own alright... but I'm not going to be hitting all the home runs or making all the 3-pointers. For playing musical instruments, I can play a decent set of drums or be a capable "campfire guitarist"... but I won't be putting Eddie Van Halen out of a job anytime soon.

I can put together Ikea furniture, but I'm no Norm Abram. I can explain General Relativity alright, but I'm no Chandrasekhar. I'm a pedophile,* but I'm no King of Pop.

So, in conclusion, I don't know what all this means, other than to suggest that, in a world preoccupied with flashy extravagance, it's easy to overlook the solid contributors to the group effort who get the job done but don't necessarily have peoples' jaws hitting the floor.

* I'm not a pedophile. Seriously.


Lindsay said...

Regarding your entry about your issues with your downstairs neighbour, I thought you might enjoy this: http://www.ironicsans.com/2007/01/the_astoria_notes.html

JTL said...

Wow. Just... wow. I swear to whatever's-up-above the exact same woman lives below me.

Actually, the 7th comment (by one "Martin") is much more accurate in describing my downstairs neighbour's mindset. Did I ever tell you about the time my super came to check on me one Tuesday afternoon in August because my downstairs neighbour swore up, down and sideways that she heard A BODY HIT THE FLOOR (i.e., my lifeless sack of bones and meat) the previous night at about 11:15? She told the super about it Tuesday morning, and he thought he'd come up just to satisfy her curiosity.

Yeah, that's why I'm casually checking out some real estate listings these days and trolling a few of my friends to see if they'd like to share a house somewhere. Lindsay, you don't happen to know of anyone who'd be moving to Toronto on or about May 1, would you?

Mike said...

Jason Law's blog: solid but not spectacular.

JTL said...

Mike's blog: never updated.