Sunday, April 03, 2016

a to å challenge: c is for competition

today we went to one of the many gymnastics exhibitions the child's boarding school is participating in. as we watched the schools and clubs that came before flemming, it struck me that this aspect of danish culture is really interesting. i'd always been puzzled by it because of the lack of competition in it. the exhibitions are just that...exhibitions, performances of elaborate routines which took days and weeks and months to learn, but there is no winner at the end of the day. no scores, no medals. and for me, as an american, that's always been strange - how do you know you did well if you don't find out who wins?

but today, it struck me that what these kids are learning is much deeper than just a dance routine and a few flips. they're learning to perform both as individuals and as part of a larger team. they are each learning their part and doing it to the best of their ability, but it's only as a larger whole that it all comes together. when 200 kids are standing on the floor, doing the same routine and doing it well, it has a power and an impact that's much larger than a single individual doing the same routine alone. and these kids leave the floor, elated with the energy of a performance well done, so there's no need to know who wins to know you did well.  i suspect there's a lesson in that. i also suspect it's a lesson that will serve them well as they grow up and enter the workplace.

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