The trans-Tasman teams are either home or close enough and the usual mob of self-righteous anti-adventurer commentators are flying their cowardly colours. You know the usual shite; “While I admire their courage, I think they’re selfish”. It’s the same morality as “I’m not a racist, but…”. No matter how they phrase it, it’s still gutless.
Derrick’s posting hard on this over at Kayaking Quixotica after Freya Hoffmeister’s circumnavigation of NZ South Island. An article in ‘The Age’ has caused him some angst but here’s another story from ‘The Age’ that is a little more positive. But it’s not just journos, it’s a certain type of person.
Now, I’m not a fan of America lately, with it’s occupationalist Tsarist Government and all. You could say it has reached the lowest ebb in its history, at least as an exportable ethos. But there were times when Americana was the shining light of morality and hope in the world and if it’s true the people get the leaders they deserve, then lucky they were to have had leaders like JFK and Theodore Roosevelt. Sure, there’ll be those out there who’ll be quick to tell you the bad things about these guys but they both had at least one thing in common. They saw the great potential of people to dare and push the limits of what is achievable. Roosevelt spread America’s reach and influence and steered them on a course to world power. JFK put man on the moon.
This is one of my own favourite quotes I’ve tried to always remember:
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.
These are quotes from great men who saw the advantage gained from great pursuits, lessons learnt from failure and the courage to get up and try it again. Compare and contrast with those “now abed who think themselves accurs’d they were not here”, those “cold and timid” souls who do not know the cold blast of sea spray in their face, the burn of the sun at their back or the rhythm of the swell.
“Wadja do on the weekend, mate?”
“Watched the footy and sunk a carton. Wadda bout you?”
“Paddled with dolphins, rode a two metre swell off Catho, got smashed in the surf at Blackies Beach. Awesome.”
Mediocrity is a choice.