Monday, 9 April 2012

The Struggle to take part

What a weekend this Easter time! Down to Putney to share the boat race with all my many New Zealand relatives and cheer on the only Kiwi in the race.

The Friday night (Good Friday) saw us out for a meal with all the supporters. After the meal a young man and former rower spoke of the point of the race being the struggle to take part – gruelling months and years of early rising and relentless toil -and not the win as often portrayed by the media. But what a struggle even the win was, from the protest swimmer in the water which stopped the race to the broken Oxford oar and the Oxford bowman struggling to breathe and needing hospitalisation. Yet in spite of all these difficulties the Cambridge team prevailed and saw it through to victory even though there was no presentation either or sense of triumph. There must be a lesson here.

Often as writers we struggle to believe in ourselves and struggle to see the win at the end of the tunnel or water (all 7km of it). But if we battle on with obstacles, unpopularity and flying in the face of public opinion, maybe our win will come. It may even mean no accolade or obvious triumph at the end of the battle. But, in the words of the speaker ‘it is the struggle to take part’ that’s important and not ultimately the win. Sobering words but true words nevertheless. My cousin has given me the courage to keep going. Thanks Alex, may your moment of glory be sweet for you.


  1. That's so true. Our sportsmen and women are a lesson in perseverence to us all. Great thing is that our words can influence others for good even if we don't make money in the process and we learn so much about ourselves too. I was once watching 'Sharp' in battle and he said to his men 'Keep going forward'. In fact, we made a latin family motto out of it. We press on!

  2. What a great win it was, Sheila. We watched on TV. Cambridge deserved their success. You must have had a great celebration.