. . . where the pen is a darned mighty thing

Saturday, February 20, 2010


by Jo Robertson

Competition is a healthy enterprise, right?

An individual learns to improve his or her skills, perform under pressure, and experience satisfaction from doing their best.

Right now much of the world is watching the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Really, you have to admire the sheer skill and discipline that brings these competitors to this point in their careers.

Might I add the sheer perversity? The Olympics is not the place for the faint of heart or the frail of determination.


Today ten-year-old Nina competed in her first public performance in the wide, disconcerting area of a mall.

She sang "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog, and I am not at all biased when I claim that her rendition was flawless -- perfect pitch, calm exterior, sassy charm.

She was perfect.

Everything else was not.

The microphone's sound cut out. Feedback screeched through the air. The mall's massive vaulted ceilings sucked up the volume like the last gasping breaths of a dying smoker.

Nina was the first performer of the day, and by the time the second singer's turn came, the kinks had been worked out. Sigh.

Everyone always says the three most important traits in attaining your goals are




Today was a good lesson for my little friend. She won't understand how valuable a lesson until she's older.

She was the epitome of grace under pressure. She never faltered in her composure or her control.

She was a trooper.

And she didn't cry until she reached the car to go home.

What about you? Have you ever geared up for an event, worked your heart out, and had everything possible go wrong? How did you handle it?


  1. Good for Nina! She really IS a trooper.

    Of course I've worked my heart out for something and then had it go right down the crapper. Handle it?!?! I blubbered like a baby. :-P


  2. It was really hard to not get really irritated at the "pros" who made all those snafus that frazzled my daughter. But I figured it was just luck of the draw. Had she been second her song would have gone perfectly. And that would certainly have made her feel great all day about it, but it wouldnt have been character building. I can't recall any specific events or incidents where I worked really hard for something and had it fall apart. I am SURE I have had many, but I must have blocked them. I DO however, recall feelings of regret... wishing I had done something differently or had done something at all or not at all. I hate that feeling. It truly is one of the worst feelings in the world, in my opinion. Guilt is something I can get over. But for some reason, the sick in the stomach, can't sleep, can't concentrate, heart racing feeling of regret lingers much longer. Corinna has nothing to regret. But it is hard to explain to a 10 year old that she shouldn't dwell... that's what tweeners do best!

  3. Hi, Cindy, thanks for stopping by. Yes, Nina is a trooper to the nth degree.

    As writers you and I certainly know a little about working our hearts out and not getting the results we'd hoped.