Our middle son Jamie loves entering sporting events.

He comes to us with entry forms and makes us pencil events in so that we can come and join him for the event. To his credit he does train for these events which may be swimming, running, triathlons, cycling, fishing or paddling.

Each and every time we make certain we are available to support our son.

Each and every time we cheer him along but there is normally one big snafu – Jamie is taking part in the event but it doesn’t look like he is trying to win.

We have seen him sailing in an event (comming first) and slowing down to chat to the person behind him. We have seen him take part in paddling events but spending a lot of time drifting around in the tide.

As supportive parents we tear out our hair because it genuinely looks like Jamie is not putting any effort into the event, we swear we will never watch him again because it is all just too frustrating.

More than often Jamie wins a place prize, if he doesn’t the luck gods shine down on him and he wins the lucky draw. He doesn’t mind – either way he is happy.

This whole senario plays out time and time again.

Where am I going with all of this – well I’ll tell you. I have worked it all out.

Jamie honestly doesn’t care how he does in the race. Although this all might sound cliche he honestly doesn’t.

What he does however care about is being a part of the event, he just loves it. He wants to enter, chat away to other competitors, soak in the atmosphere, get his free cooldrink and boerewors roll, take part (note I do not say compete) in the event, maybe grab a prize and finally come away and be able to say I DID IT.

I am also of the absolute opinion that there are millions of Jamies out there. They do not have the hunger to WIN a race, but they have the hunger to PARTICIPATE.

We need the Jamies of this world to enable the competitors who have the hunger to win to ….. well ……. win. In the Tour de France, there are teams that enter, however within each team there is one star. The job of the rest of the team members is to ensure that their star wins through pacing, slipstreaming and doing whatever tactics it takes to make sure a cyclist wins.

As parents we want our children to excel, and excel to OUR expectations, and maybe – just maybe our expectations are not the same as theirs.

I am now an extremely proud parent of a competitor – happy in the knowledge that my child is exactly where he wants to be – happily confident in being part of the big picture.


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