Excuse Me, But Do You Mind If I Watch You Fail?

The other day I was attempting to display how to do a burpee to some friends. I was casually talking to them as I was going through the motions and as I was lowering down into the push up position of the burpee, I smoked my head on the floor. This was met with laughter and jeers and it left me feeling quite embarrassed. I could have lied and said that I had meant to do that but likely the only one who would have believed me would be my dog, and only because he doesn’t know what I’m saying. Of course I had to then preserve my pride so I forced an audible laugh to alert my peers that I don’t take myself too seriously. To make matters worse, for the next 15 minutes the big red welt in the centre of my forehead continued to be a source of amusement for all those who gazed upon it.

This got me thinking. When a self proclaimed hotshot errs in some way, why do we love it so much?

When I went skating on the Ottawa River last year, moving at a snail’s pace I might add, a young lady zipped by me at lightning speed. Clearly she was skilled and wanted to display it. But as she was daring past me, I noticed something that made her hotshotness a little less impressive. Her tights were quite translucent in the ass region which made her thong visible to all. I assume that she was oblivious to this fact. But why did I feel less threatened by her skill when I saw her pant catastrophe? As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a competitive person and I don’t like to be bested. Perhaps it was the pants that provided my mind with the ammunition to take her down a notch.

Why is it so gratifying to see a professional or someone successful in their field having a lack of control? That lack of control might be that they are unaware that they are semi nude. Or perhaps they are unable to do the last rep without contorting their face into what resembles a Picasso painting (see image). Or maybe they have a one time lapse in proprioceptive abilities and they end up dropping a workout bench on their leg in front a large group of people. Yes, the last two happened to me. Do we enjoy this because it makes us feel better about ourselves? I am just being philosophical here but I worry that the answer might be yes.

I will admit to being a self proclaimed gym hotshot. Yes, I make mistakes and if that gives others a confidence boost, good for them. However I will also admit to sometimes being on the other side. This is not a conscious decision and my mind just does it automatically. Perhaps it has gotten somewhat worse since I started competing and this is something I would like to work on. When competing, we are all so physically similar and we are judged based on little differences. Any tiny error, whether it be the physique, makeup, hair, suit, or posing can potentially mean the difference between first place and last. In the end, what good is it to compare yourself to others? You are responsible for your own success and simply wishing for what someone else has will never give you the results you seek. So I say grab life by the balls and stop worrying about the audience, unless of course you are wearing translucent pants, and in that case you should probably change.


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