Wednesday, June 11, 2014

AC Contemplates his Tiny Almost Trophy-less Life

This is kind of a personal post from the memory banks and for the record. I may not be quite as narcissistic as I might appear to be when discussing my rather meagre (which is Canadian for meager) victories, below.


Stirred by JJ's interest and desire to port it to his house, I was looking at my one trophy sitting on the shelf behind me and began to contemplate that being awarded a solitary trophy is not much of an accomplishment in this old world. It was granted for my [tied] first place finish in a 1993 chess tournament. It was not a large tournament, perhaps just six contestants if I remember rightly. Having coached my high school chess team for several years and doing pretty well against most of the students most of the time when I played against them, I thought I should give higher level, adult competition a try. After a slow start adjusting to the new-for-me, higher calibre (which is Canadian for caliber) of play, somehow, I won the event by the end of two rounds of play that took up about two and a half months of Tuesday evenings. My record tied with another guy, but after my slow start in a new environment, I think I deserved it more than he. /smile/

Well, the vast empty space on my trophy shelf [kidding] got me to thinking that I didn't exactly have a plethora of accolades to point to with pride ... until I remembered that I had won another tournament, this one for table tennis.

In the mid to late seventies, someone brought a ping pong table into our new large staff room of the school in which I taught. On the staff back then were many young males, and we took to the game with great gusto. We would often play at lunch time, during spares, and after school. There were quite a bunch of us who would jockey for table time.

After several years, someone organized a single knockout tournament, and I was the last man standing when the dust cleared ... or when the paddles stopped blazing. It was partially luck that I knew how to easily defeat the other finalist when there were others that could have given me trouble had they made it through. However, we both got to the end fair and square, but I won 4-0 in a best of 7 match. There was no trophy, sorry to say.

Then came to mind, the tennis (as in real tennis) tournament that I was drawn into somehow. I hadn't even entered the event, but a friend had, and his partner had gone AWOL after a round or two. So, he asked for me to fill in for the final few rounds. He had lost once, so it was the consolation finals that we eventually played. In the final match we played a pair of teenagers whom we beat pretty handily. I have always felt a little badly that I was parachuted into the tournament toward the end. I don't think the organizers thought too highly of my involvement, but I did it for a friend, and they certainly allowed it. All I got for my troubles was a cheap crest and not a brag-worthy trophy. /wink wink/

My memories then took me to the teachers bowling league that I joined for 2 years. Once again I went trophy-less due to dang luck.  If memory serves, my team did win the league in the first year of my participation but not the playoffs: hence, no trophy. In the second year I came in fifth in the individual standings. The previous year, trophies had been awarded to the top five finishers, but with the league in financial straits, only the top three were awarded in that year. More sadness for AC. /insert more winkies/

So, I guess I could have had 4 trophies or some such if the universe had unfolded differently, but that's life.


As a bit of a postscript, the only other event that I can remember placing in during years of field day events in elementary school was for a facsimile of hurdles, where the hurdles were benches brought out from the school. By some fluke I placed third and was awarded a green ribbon for my prowess. Believe me, it had to have been a fluke.


Oh ... almost forgot ... so I guess this is a post post script. I sort of won my first teaching job which paid me a 'scholarship' of $1800, which was not a paltry amount in 1971. It was called a fellowship and was granted to me and a number of other 'winners' for agreeing to teach in that county for 2 years. That sum was about half of what out first car cost, so it came in very handy. I stayed with that board for my whole career, but somewhat ironically my fellowship cost be dearly in the end. Whether it was the fault of the board or the teachers, I endured 4 strikes before I retired and lost much more income than was I 'won' with that fellowship.


Such is life, and such is my ability or lack of same in this life. And now, that part of my record is complete ... until I forget and write about it again ... /smile/


Jackie said...

In my book, you are a matter how many trophies you acquire.
I'm impressed with the trophy for chess. That's quite an honor.
I love to play chess, but I am soooo NOT good at it.

Sue said...

That's four more trophies, albeit mostly virtual ones, than I've ever had! But I've never been into competitive sport of any kind. I'm entirely happy being trophy-less. Here in Cyprus they award trophies just for taking part in things sometimes; my husband was given one for coming second in a two-boat sailing regatta. I think that was his first ever trophy and he had no idea what do so with it!

TexWisGirl said...

i liked your pps note - a win and a loss. :)

the only trophies or ribbons i ever earned were academic or art-related.

Dale said...

It mightn't seem trophy-worthy to you, John, but you've been married to a great gal for many years. You got that right on your first try! You've got two daughters who love their dad, and two grandkids who love their granddad. You're entire career was dedicated to the advancement of young people. Sir, to me you are a champion.

Gail Dixon said...

I didn't win a trophy until the age of 29, coming in first in a local tennis league. After that I won regularly and eventually began opting for gift certificates instead. When I moved, I threw all the trophies away.

I like (and agree with) what Dale said. So true! I would have traded your career over those worthless trophies in a heartbeat.

KGMom said...

You forgot all your loyal blog followers. We are sort of trophies for your writing and photography. As long as we don't have to sit on your trophy shelf.

Kerry said...

Gosh, that's more trophies than I have! Pretty impressive, that breadth of yours: chess, ping-pong, tennis, bowling? I'm terrible at these things, most of all chess-which I really wish I were good at, dang it. I could however, win a trophy at blueberry pie-making though, just maybe.

Lorna said...

I'm late reading your post so all the smart things have been said already.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

There are no trophies on our shelves at all, John,so you are ahead in that areas. But as Dale said so well, trophies are things and it is life and what we do with it that matters most. You are a champion to many in your lives.

troutbirder said...

Fun post. And a future post inspiration for my own single trophy on the shelf. Which my spouse eventually threw away claiming (falsely) I won it under false pretenses....:)

Shammickite said...

No trophies for me. But I did win some nice colourful ribbons when I had my horse and competed at horse shows.
And I am proud to say I won a prize when I was at high school. Was it for coming first in all subjects? No, nothing so impressive. It was "for progress"! I still have that prize, it was a cookery book.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have never won a trophy, but if they gave one for most Oreos eaten in one sitting I would RULE!! Kudos on the chess trophy, I tried to play that once and quickly realized that I am lacking the mental aptitude :-)

Mage said...

Any person who teaches gets an award from me. Bravo and thank you.

RYN: exercise. I agree. I'm not doing this voluntarily either. I slothed into fatness, and rather than die, I now exercise. Truly, I would rather curl up with a good book, but two surgeries on one leg have led me to the pool and now the gym. I like living.

Mara said...

You are a regular prize winner you are! I kinda feel I should ask for an autograph!

Donna said...

The only trophies in life worth having are the ones you can cuddle and love right now...and you are Very Blessed...

Chicken said...

If there was a trophy for best Grandfather, I think you would be a shoo-in (that's Yankee for "I know I've heard it but I don't know how to spell it so I'll give it my best shot)