July 3rd, 2013… Number 44- Represent a Country at Something

Australian Wallabies representing their nation

From a young age I remember watching international sporting events on the television, in absolute awe of the athletes who got to pull on their countries national colours, sing the national anthem and then take to the field of battle against a completely different nation of the world. Whether it be rugby, football, the Olympics or something entirely different, I always imagined that feeling to be one of the proudest moments a person could have. This, I wanted to experience.

Australian Wallabies representing their nation

Australian Wallabies representing their nation

As it happened, through my youth I played a lot of rugby and thanks to a combination of dedication and schoolboy dreaming, I was convinced that it would be through this sport that I would be able to reach my dream of representing my country. As history tells us, this never eventuated. I’d like to blame something other than my skill level for this but sadly I can’t! Regardless, my desire to don the national colours has never died.

This is the precise reason why Number 44 on my list simply reads; ‘Represent a Country at Something‘. The dream lives on.

 

The Problem:

The honour of representing a country in any given discipline is something typically bestowed to elite sportsmen only. You simply have to be the best. Sadly for me, the reality is that I am (and always have been) completely average at most things I attempt. Whether it’s something that I have been doing for years or whether it’s a completely new concept, I always end up being just about average. It’s an interesting phenomenon that although relatively funny, no doubt poses a hurdle for this dream of claiming national honours to be realised.

How does an average person achieve the highest honour in sport; national representation?

Well I can’t give you an answer right now, but with the attitude that I truly believe that any dream can be achieved with an active (and creative!) mind, I see my averageness now as being my strength moving forward. This is my challenge.

 

Which Sport?

If you’ve been following my journey over the past 12 months, you may have seen that I opportunistically participated at the Australian Dodgeball try-outs. Not knowing until days before the event that Australia even had a dodgeball team, my hope was that the sport of dodgeball was so obscure and unknown to everyone else too, that there would only be a few people trying out. As it happened, there were only a few, but true to form my average performance meant I got cut first round!

Although walking away with my tail between my legs, it struck me at that moment (with my head still ringing from being hit in the head repeatedly with dodge balls) that the key to this goal being achieved would be in thinking laterally. The adage of working ‘smarter’ not ‘harder’ rang true to my ears. Perhaps I’d be best looking at lesser known sports?

 

Which Country?

Unlike many, I have the rare privilege of owing passports to 3 different counties. Having been born in Australia I of course cherish being Australian, but through my British Dad and my Mauritian Mum, I have somehow managed to qualify for the passports of both England and Mauritius too!

Is this the key to success?

Is this the key to success?

 

Unlike England, Mauritius is lesser known and if you’re reading this thinking that I’ve just made up a country; I haven’t- honestly! Mauritius is a tiny tropical island-nation situated in the Indian Ocean somewhere off the South-East coast of Africa. The key point here being that it is tiny, and it’s because of it’s size that my mind has been racing recently. You see, if thinking creatively is key to me achieving my dream, my thoughts are that I’d have a better chance (a far better chance!) of representing a the small island nation of Mauritius at something, than I would representing England or Australia where my competition are in the tens of millions of people.

The Plan?

Well the word ‘plan’ is used very loosely here but essentially I’ve decided to fly to Mauritius this week with the goal of finding a sport that they are so under performing in, that I stand a good chance of making the national team!

I wish it seemed more thought-out but it’s not. Never the less, armed with my trusty running shoes, a never before used passport and a very open attitude, I’m ready to take the leap.

The idea arose only recent when my Mum told me that she was planning to visit her family in Mauritius. Immediately it made perfect sense for me to join her, not only to say ‘Bonjour’ (the national language is French!) to my relatives, but also to do some research into Mauritian sports. As an added benefit, Number 35 on the list is to also ‘Find my Family Tree‘ and so the 3-week trip will allow me to do some research into this too!

My thoughts at this stage are that this initial 3-week period will act mainly as a recognisance trip in which time I hope to locate one or more sports to throw my self at. Depending on the commitments of the sport itself, I may then have to return at a later stage to commit 100% of my time and energy into training etc, but the exciting part is that all of this is completely unknown. For all I know, I may be playing Ping Pong for Mauritius before the week is out!

Now all I have to do is learn the national anthem! Easy.

Wish me luck.

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