Sunday, 23 November 2014

If You Don’t Throw The Ball, It Won’t Hit The Coconut

Now, the title for this particular post came from a strange place indeed. I had finished writing one of my essays – incidentally one I had been especially stressed about – so decided to mark the end of this feat of endurance by watching something on the Wonder of the World, BBC iPlayer. The choice was difficult. I had already watched Graham Norton and Have I Got News For You so alas my fail safe cheer-up shows were not on the cards for this special moment. My decision, after much thought, was to watch World’s Greatest Food Markets. A lesser known programme, but I triumph from that bastion of entertainment, the BBC. If you haven’t seen this programme then you really need to sort yourself. The premise is basically that the show give this ‘geezer’ who is a fish-seller at Billingsgate market some money and he has to make a profit in different markets around the world. The first programme was in New York, where he tries to sell the Americans jellied eels but mostly ends up eating his profits. Despite my evident love for this television show it isn’t in fact the main subject of the post but it is important to reference the quote (yes I have been doing too many essays – I have referencing on the brain). What I really loved about the programme was his optimism. It’s the philosophy of just having a go and trying something that I really admired in him, as well as his use of the phrase “If You Don’t Throw The Ball, It Won’t Hit The Coconut”…
This got me thinking about something else I had watched. This time on the magnificent site that in Youtube. Not only am I obsessed with James Bond but I do have a rather strange addiction to Masterchef. One very bored evening brought me to watching clips of the American version of the show. The US is the set of nations in the world with the greatest sense of optimism in each and every one of them. This was shown in one contestant on series 3 of Masterchef USA. I watched the audition of Christine Ha with amazement. As she walked into the judging chamber she was accompanied by her husband who was guiding her way to the work surface in the middle of the room because she is blind. Yes, you read that correctly. She’s blind. Now Masterchef has never had a contestant who is blind before. It seems very unlikely that she could be any good at cooking if she couldn’t see what she was doing. If you thought that then you would be 100% wrong. She didn’t let her disability stop her from doing what she was really good at. In fact from the extensive research I did into the Masterchef archives available on Youtube she was the best contestant on the show by far. Her sashimi was amazing. The skill in sashimi is the cutting of the fish which she did perfectly despite not being able to see what she was doing. It really put the rest of the contestants to shame.
Watching all of this got me thinking. You really have to try something so that you know whether you can do it or not. I thought back to myself probably about 2 years ago now when I was sending off my UCAS application and made the decision to apply to come to university in Paris. At that point I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it would be fine in my sweet naivety. I hadn’t even visited my university when I thought to myself that actually Paris was the place I wanted to be. I just had to try living in a different country to know whether I could do it. Sometimes I still don’t think I can do it, whether it’s coping with deadlines or going to the supermarket and trying to work out what half the items on the shelves actually are. But I’m glad that I’m here and doing it. A sense of adventure as well as trial and error are what make you the person you become after the most formative years of your life – the first time you move away from home.
What I’m saying is just go for it, whether you are a fish seller in New York, a contestant on Masterchef or a 19 year-old trying to work out what to do with their life have a go and just try it. You never know. It might just work out for the better.

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