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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Dangers of Being Awesome

My daughter recently completed her first year of soccer.  Her team was Awesome (yes, with a capital A).  I mean, these girls were incredible players.  Incredible.  Many had been on a "competitive" team before but it was no longer "fun" so they switched to a" recreational" team.  But these girls....truly I don't have the words for them. Wait, maybe I do.  Velociraptor comes to mind.  (Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the  raptors are using their superior psychic, mind-reading abilities to hunt like a pack?  Well, that is what is was like to watch this team play.)

They were deadly to opponents. A girl would kick the ball and another girl would be there and BAM!  GOAL!  These girls scored off of corner kicks and headers and backward bicycle kicks. They were made of win.

The coach (who I will call St. Coach because he was the most chilled-out, gentle coach in the WORLD, would often say to the girls in hushed tones so as not to be overheard, but I have super-sonic hearing) "Ladies, don't score this half.  Just play Keep Away."

They had an undefeated season.

Then they went into a post-season tournament.

They were so used to being Awesome, and so afraid NOT to be Awesome anymore, that they started playing scared.

You can't play scared if you are going to win.

They were playing it far too safe.

You can't play it safe if you are going to  win.

Luckily, St. Coach said something to the girls (that even my superior hearing could not make out) and things turned around for them. Four games later, they were tournament champions, still undefeated.

But the fear of not living up to your previous success is a very real one.  I think it hits writers very hard.  "What if what I am writing today is not as good as what I wrote yesterday?"  or "This story will never be as good as my last one."

We can't let being awesome do this to our creativity.  For the power of creativity lies in the creation not the product.

Do not fear the Awesome.  But don't let it mess you up, either.



Janet Johnson said...

I just love soccer. And I loved your story. It must have been such a treat to watch your daughter's team play.

And wow: Don't be afraid of awesome! My new mantra. :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

That makes a great mantra--Do not fear the awesome.

I'm going to remember that!

Myrna Foster said...

I think you're right about this.

And I like that you appreciated the quiet coach. I've had kids (and parents) tell me that I don't yell enough, and I'm always like "What? You want me to yell at you?"

Catherine Denton said...

"Do not fear the Awesome", I love that.

Thanks for your words on My Blog. ((Hugs back))

Julie Dao said...

What a GREAT analogy, Shelley, and so relevant to writing. I hear that published authors' greatest fear is that their second or third or fourth book won't be as great as the first, but fear is crippling to potential!

Kelly Polark said...

How fun for your daughter and for you!!!
My oldest son just played in his jr high bball championship game last night. They lost and got 2nd place, but man, what a fun season! (and now his next bball league is starting up! Thank goodness I love basketball!)

Catherine Denton said...

Thanks for your sweet comment. And I agree, I think she was there.

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. And that is definitely a very real fear for authors. i already worry I won't write another NINJA PIGS and it hasn't even been released yet. Ha!

And by the way, I think The Dangers of Being Awesome is a great MG title.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That imagery with the raptors freaked me out!!!! I still haven't recovered from the movie.

I LOVE this part: Do not fear the Awesome. But don't let it mess you up, either.

I need to post that by my computer. :D

Jackee said...

Well said! I feel that way often--the fear things won't be at the caliber I thought they were last time. I love your advice--I'm going to take it to heart!

Hugs, Shelley!