Indicatives Pertaining Perspiration and Aspiration

You know I haven’t blogged for a while when I get going on pretentious titles. #selfentertainment

I always played sport. And I was always decent at what I did. As a Christian Afrikaner male, sport has always been a type of valid pathway to release the competitor in my self. A legitimate arena to compete, fight, aspire and perform.

That all became tricky when I decided to learn to play football in my 20’s. Suddenly I was useless; an uncertain teenager seeking the approval of peers, battling away to prove to others and myself that I can be a worthy member of a worthy tribe. Eventually I wasn’t picked last and that is good enough I guess, at my age.

adelino coach kick

No sooner has the sun set on my journey of football based humiliation and I decided to start playing golf: as a 37 year old. I thought I took up a sport or hobby. Erroneously. What I did was to enrol in an advance class of Tibetan Buddhist, Islamic Jihad, Christian Martyrdom as pathway to self-denial and ego torture. For every shot that flies and lands well there are five that mock and torment. Golf bites. And there is quantitative measures to underline every sense of disguised frustration and failure. Sometimes I play better than other times. But I don’t know why. What I know is the harder I try the worse I do it. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak! Practice shot: perfect. Actual shot and every atom between my ears conspire to try to hard and in anxious expectancy and fearful tension I connect the ball to high, too low, to closed or too open; a result multiplied by every meter of flight. I crack under pressure. In golf I don’t know how to fight it. I don’t know how to give up control. Golf is perhaps a technical form of dancing. Letting the ‘swing’ take over and relinquishing control is as hard on the dance floor as it is on the first tee. I tried prayer, I tried meditation, I tried jokes, I tried alcohol, I even tried talking to myself and breathing. Yet, the competitive little Schalk whispering devilish ambitions of perfection into my ear maintains a level of stress that stands between me and easy golf. Calling Ernie Els The Big Easy has new meaning these days. The paradoxes of golf makes it my number one reflection and mental war zone.

golf pa

Taking a break from golf and the fine nuances of mental torture it entails I also like to go jogging. Like might be a strong word. I like being in the world where I just went for a jog. Running is so simple. You want to do better? Try harder. Go faster. Push you body. Burn your legs, burn your lungs. Compared to golf, it is braindead. A similarity it has with golf is that there are quantifiable measures. When I started jogging after my 6 month back injury I ran slow and it was torture. Gradually the times started to drop. As is testimony by my i-phone screenshots.

running times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running gives me an escape. A method to be a warrior.
Golf slaps me in the face and shows me how everything I’ve learnt can be as bad as it can be good.

In life we first need to learn to be runners. Staying fit, persevering, trying harder, sweating, getting fit. It activates the basics of a successful personality: strength and perseverance.
Golf brings the challenge of being and enjoying, getting to understand your emotions and inner workings.

Running comments on and scores my body.
Golf comments on and scores my mind and soul.

Naturally they are both training grounds for my real life, my vida real. The hidden stuff beneath the matrix.
Can I be strong and soft?
Can I be smart and silly?
Can I be focussed and relaxed?
Can I be cruel and controlled?

I used to read a lot for reflection. In the current season I’m in, I am allowing my body to speak to me and reveal nuance that a good book struggles to illuminate.

Craft vs Art… I often reflect on this. When does skill transform from excellence through repetition to excellence in freedom and beauty.

Do I craft my life or do I create my life?

Could freedom be the key to unlock beauty?

Freedom from what?

Now there’s a conversation starter!

Leisure

Sometimes the wealthy are proud to refer to themselves as a man or woman of leisure. In a way, leisure is the fulfilment and culmination of wealth; in the absence of a higher or lower purpose.

This December was the first time in about 12 years that I did not spend my festive season in Manica, Mozambique. Manica is nota tourist town at the coast, and when I’m there I try to serve- the place is not geared for my pampering. 2014’s end saw me go to holiday spots. I’m inclined to say white holiday spots since despite the fact that 90% of our country consists of black people, only 10% of the ‘holiday goers’ were black. This is a persistent legacy of apartheid: white leisure.

On Port Alfred’s Royal golf course I spoke to an old Afrikaner and when he heard what I do for a job he said: “Do you still have hope for this bloody country?!” to which I replied: “Oom, as mens nie hoop het nie moet jy maar trek.” The uncle was complaining about the country, but he is substantially unaffected by any of the things he complains about. He ended our chat with a “let’s not talk politics, I’m supposed to enjoy my retirement.” A man of leisure.

To be clear, I was part of the white holiday vibe. I spent endless ZAR’s on myself and my biological family, justified by the notion that for 10 years I spent all my December cash on Manicans. The justification only numbs half of my conscience though…

Driving through the Karoo, I stopped at a farm stall and was talked into buying half a lamb. Great meat at a cheaper price. The Afrikaner lady explained all the different pieces of meat to me and to bags consisted of weird things like bones, chunks of fat and kidneys. She asked me if I have dogs to which I replied “no”. So she said, in Afrikaans, in front of other customers which included black people: “gee dit dan maar vir die bediende”. This little anecdote first shocked me and then made me think of reality: The majority of domestics would in fact even buy those pieces of meat, and some whites would indeed give it to their dogs. All the while the Umlungu (or very wealthy blacks) would nibble on the premium chops, steak and ribs. Meat of leisure vs meat for sustenance.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved my holiday. I too was raised as a son of leisure. Not because we went on fancy holidays as kids (in fact we didn’t), but because I grew up expecting and anticipating these ‘finer’ things in life. 2014’s holiday was an indulgence for me and I used my girl and family as a rationale for feeling less selfish about it all. Something can indeed be wrong and right at the same time. #greytruth

Our country is in shit, the irony is that the only ones complaining are the ones that don’t need to complain! Complaining whilst playing golf, driving a Mercedes, sitting in a holiday home (yes there are such things!). And the millions sitting in badly built shacks waits for a dream that wont show up. The wealthy enjoy their perpetual leisure, but they also perpetuate their wealth by working hard and sharpening their skills. After their December ‘rest’ they will hit the marketplace hard and build up more resources to enjoy at the end of the next calendar year. The poor remains trapped. Their leisure is not built up over the year. The leisure of the poor is short term: cheap dring in cheap places.

Before we blame the rich white people for their sophisticated leisure, be sure the poor don’t save the whole year to invest in the community, books, children’s education or missions trips. The majority of poor men uses their extra Rands to sit and dring and talk shit. More money and the leisure becomes more sohisticated: instead of papsak it’s bottles of beer, instead of beer it becomes Jack Daniels, instead of alcohol it becomes shoes, instead of shoes it’s cars…

Mzansi: we are united in an endless pursuit of selfish leisure.

You can blame…

You can complain…

Instead of pointing fingers, we should rather ask ourselves a simple personal question. A personal question that will shatter our generalisations and philosophical arguing and justifications:

Will you present and lay your leisure- not in front of the Christmas Tree, but in front of the Tree with a Man hanging on it?

And what would He say?

“Wie is die ONS in die ‘Ons vir jou Suid Afrika'”?