What do we Regard as Personal Achievement?

Posted on May 21, 2012

My latest attempt to play cricket predictably failed under cloudy skies at Oakley yesterday, once again ending in disappointment, with five runs scored in an innings that if  it was described as a piss poor effort, I would take it as lavish but unwarranted compliment. With a cricket bat in my hand but without a cricket ball coming towards me, I can mimic all number of exquisite shots in my living room, but come the real deal, I am only capable of a limp wristed defensive prod or an ill timed hoik, a shot that, as far as I can recall, has never resulted in me actually connecting with the ball, with my latest attempt resulting in a rather nasty bruise on my hip as the ball cannoned in to it. I may as well go out to bat with a stick of rhubarb and a blindfold.

So, as I spent this morning working away, getting dead panned or ignored by customers both new and old, I began to wonder that, as the years pass by, what it is I can do in my average day, apart from working, that can give me a sense of achievement that makes getting up worthwhile. Obviously it’s not going to be cricket as I had hoped it would be all winter, I may as well accept that now. Going to the gymnasium is a good one, I always feel better afterwards, but beforehand there is always a biblical fight going on in my brain between the Devil who is jabbing a cheese sandwich and a bottle of Cobra at me and the Angel that is telling me to give up bread, drink more water and moderate my alcohol intake.

The Devil invariably wins, but I do experience long periods of self righteous abstinence where I bore everyone senseless about how many miles I have done on a running machine and how great I am feeling. However, during these periods I can assure you that I have never picked up the Daily Mail or had discussions over Cappuccino about immigration issues and the youth of today with fellow gymnasium members in the pompous surroundings of the bar area. I take great pride in ignoring everyone at the gymnasium, even during my fitter and healthier periods.

So what are the things I currently try to do regularly that give me a sense of achievement, apart from on and off fitness regimes?

Well, here are some I can think of.

  • Going to the bottle bank
  • Posting a letter/invoice  on the same day I have typed it
  • Getting petrol
  • Using the self checkout till in Sainsbury’s without embarrassment
  • Remembering to put my bin out

Pathetic list isn’t it? Absolutely pathetic. Of course, all these things should be a triviality, but whilst Andrew Strauss was punching the air in celebration after scoring a century against the West Indies the other day, I was doing the same thing after getting in to my car and realising that I didn’t need to stop at the petrol garage on my way to Wokingham after all, because I had filled up the night before, it really was a joy to behold. I hate getting petrol, it is riddled with issues such as deciding what side of the pump I should park, and it nearly always ends up with me spending my onward journey battling with a minor migraine after swallowing a sack of Maynard’s wine gums in less than a minute.

Over the past twenty four hours, undoubtedly driven on by my failings as a cricketer, I have managed to post a letter, go to the bottle bank, use the self checkout at Sainsburys and put the bins out. In fact, I did three of these things in a frenzied period that lasted less than thirty minutes at lunchtime today. It was incredible stuff, and as I carried out the final task of putting the letter in the red box I was nearly bursting with pride. Okay, okay, I will admit that all didn’t go to plan, I poured red wine down my arm and cut my knuckle at the bottle bank and I will never work out how to open those orange bags that hang delicately on the hooks at the self checkout. As per usual, I had some “unexpected items in baggage area” something that always happens to me and always makes me feel like a grubby little thief. However, you will all be pleased to know my letter entered the post box without alarm, I had even put a stamp on it.

So maybe that is it? Maybe us people who have had a life of playing or at least trying to play some kind of sport are always looking for a sense of fulfillment to get us through the day, maybe without knowing it, our aspirations of what we deem as successful missions are forever evolving with age. How long is before I am sat in a urine stained acrylic armchair doing a Sudoku puzzle whilst claiming all black people are lazy? For the time being I will satisfy myself with the fact that my patio area no longer resembles the rear of a public house and my wheelie bin is empty for another week.

My life would definitely be far more interesting if I could hit a cricket ball back over the head of an irate bowler in to a nearby field.

Just once….please God,  that’s all I am asking? It’s not as if though I am trying to be the next Ian Botham.


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