Thoughts for No One in Particular

Life’s condiments

What’s a few days of sleep deprivation if something spicy yet very sweet awaits in the end? That is how I felt this Monday morning, as I spent the entire weekend with practically no sleep to watch a major sporting event held across the ocean.

 

I will come back a little later to tell you what got me glued to the TV this past weekend.

(Sorry it has taken me this long to finish up this thought!)

 

I originally planned to tune in just to cheer on one of my favourite countrymen athletes, as I am not so interested in the sport itself. But even after he finished his rounds, I could not turn off the television. For some reason, my eyes kept searching for another player… one of the few of this sport I can recognize and root for.

 

I first took notice of him when he turned pro almost two decades ago. In a sport in which I only saw old geezers (I sincerely apologize for this expression, I was very young back then and everybody seemed old!) playing, he stood out being a couple of years younger than me, and his debut in his late teens clearly felt like a breath of fresh air to me.

 

His main playing field was in a continent other than the one I lived on, so I did not get to watch him play very often, but majors were the exceptions. When these special tournaments were televised, I would push my father, an avid fan of this game, over to the edge of the couch to get the best seat in the house. I never missed a broadcast of his action that I could catch, and every time he missed winning a major, I figured “oh, well, he’s still young, his time will surely come… better luck next time!”

 

Well, as it turns out, his time did not come for almost two decades – that’s seventy-three majors, to be exact! How bitter life must have tasted (or, as we say in my mother tongue, “how much salt and sour he must have had to lick”) for him during this long wait. Fans of this game, and especially fans of his homeland, had high hopes for him, and I am sure he had even higher hopes for himself… I cannot even begin to imagine how disappointed, and eventually resigned, be felt.

 

But, as it turns out, this sense of resignation may have helped him shake off the jitters on his seventy-fourth attempt at a major title. As I watched him get ready to take his first shot in the final round, I had this unsupported but sure feeling that it was going to be his day. And maybe he had it, too, because although his play took a nose dive mid-way, he somehow found it within him to come back and clinch his win in play-off! I do not think anyone could doubt how sweet the victory must have tasted (and to add a bit of spice, his victory came on the birthday of his late childhood hero!) when he sank to his knees after his last shot.

 

Maybe life is full of bitter moments, and puts you in situations where you have to “lick salt and sour.”

But maybe that is how life makes blissful occasions that much sweeter.

And maybe it is only after you have tasted all bitter, salty, sour, and sweet experiences in life that you can discover the umami of life.

 

So, maybe you should not dismiss failures as cooking gone bad, but stock them as your life’s condiments that will one day make successes even tastier.

 

My countryman athlete had bitter moments and had to “licked salt and sour” this time. But he also had some sweet stretches, and he is definitely racking up life’s condiments very quickly. I cannot wait to see him discover the umami of life… better luck next time!

 

And congratulations to the winner – I hope you get to savour it to the fullest!

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