Thus spoke Kim Collins, one of Usain Bolt’s main rivals in track and field’s premier event. It is an astonishing admission and in a way it confirms what I have long suspected; excellence of a certain kind can have a dispiriting effect on us.
I have aspirations to write a travel book. I recently read Paul Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express. When I finished reading the book I was crestfallen. I can never write travel the way Theroux does. His is the sort of genius that pulls you down.
In late school I dreamed of opening for India. Everyone told me I was that good. Till one day I ran into a fast bowler who was rapidly building a reputation on the cricket fields of North India. He will play for India, said the coaches. I padded up to this rising star in nets, in an inter schools team trial.
After 15 minutes of facing up to him, I knew I would never play test cricket. He was too good for me. I graduated to inter universities cricket and shortly after that specialized as a knowledgeable spectator of this great game. The bowler was Kapil.
So beware of excellence. Admire it from afar, for if you have ambition in the same discipline excellence is as likely to pull you down, as it is to inspire you.
“When Bolt runs slow one day, I can beat him”.