My apology and gratitude, guitarists
Thank you for always being there
The behaviour in a certain task —such as going to school, feint an opponent in the basketball court or doing a smash in tennis— appears due to the interaction of characteristics from the person involved in the task and her environment. If one characteristic affects the task, it is a constraint. If this characteristic doesn’t affect the execution, it is not a constraint but a mere property of the surroundings.
That’s why, the season of the year is a powerful environmental constraint in Finland but not so much in Catalonia. In Barcelona, no matter the day of the year was, I always went to school by scooter. The season didn’t affect my task. In Jyväskylä, I can only take the scooter out of home when the ice of the cold winter disappears. Usually on May or June… but no one guarantees it. The season constraint highly my task of going by scooter to work.
Individual and environmental characteristics are only a constrain if they affect the task. The season is not a constrain in the task of going to work for the Finnish person who goes to work by car whatever the month, but it is for the one who goes by scooter. Maybe it is a constraint in other tasks of her life.
In our day-to-day work, as coaches or players on the football pitch... What constrains one person may have no influence on another, and vice versa. An opponent with open legs close, is a constraint for Messi. He sees an opportunity to feint Milner to achieve the task of getting over him. At the same time, it might not be a constraint for another player —like Puyol, maybe— because this characteristic might not affect his task of overcoming a rival. He may not detect this opportunity in the environment and will opt for another option like a pass.
This is the reason why Jerry does not come anymore alone to training —as he did on the warm beginning of September— and arrives accompanied by his father, Jesse. As the white winter arrives in Finland, the lakes freeze and fill with skiers and skaters. At the same time, motorcycle drivers —often young people close to legal age like Jerry— disappear from the snowy roads. Only cars and trucks with winter tires resist.
Jesse has been always in the padel club during Jerry’s practices. He has seen all colors in Jerry’s trainings: the brightest and the darkest. Days of glory and days when, perhaps, it would have been better to stay at home.
As one of Jerry’s coaches, I love his character for learning, training and competing. I have seen some annoyance with himself in tough moments. I have been fascinated by his discipline to learn, to pursue his goals and, after 8 months working together, I am still waiting for his first complaint. But also, every day I have admired Jesse’s role in Jerry’s learning process.
One day, spontaneously at the end of the practice, I asked Jerry if he had ever thanked his dad for all efforts he made so that he could play padel. He answered me no.
One week later, a person told me that, on that day, Jesse was surprised —I hope positively— to see Jerry walking into the car and thanking him. Honestly, I don’t really care how the story ended. I don’t want to be an example nor am I someone to give lessons. Jerry, as shy as he is, has a good heart and I think he knows how to show his appreciation to Jesse.
The story may seem beautiful, but I have to admit that it made me feel ashamed. Once, I read that those who give advice are the ones who need it the most. I think it is true. In the figure of Jesse and Jerry, I see my parents and me but with a difference: I have never been grateful with them.
This letter is to apologize to my parents for never thanking them all the efforts they made for my hobbies. I am sorry.
But this letter is also to claim all those who are not in the picture of the victory, no matter how small may be.
Jerry started to train padel with me last September and he was not able to warm up by hitting more than 5 balls in a row. Last Saturday, he was selected for the National Junior Team of Finland. I think this is a small victory on his path to whatever Jerry thinks is his big success, and I am not talking specifically about championships, high rankings or trophies. It made me really happy.
I wonder what Jerry’s improvement would be without Jesse’s countless van rides and waiting times. I wonder how many culprits there must be behind every success that don’t appear in the final picture.
In this letter of forgiveness and congratulations... I want to vindicate all those who push from behind the success and dreams of others. So essential and so overlooked at the same time. I guess they don’t need any recognition because they can have a clear conscience feeling the true success inside.
Honor for the brave ones who believe, work and raise the trophy. But also for those who don’t appear in the trophy picture because they deserve something much bigger, for the ubiquitous people behind it. I am moved by what Alfred Julbe labels as guitarists: those who do all the work for the singers to shine.
In a world where I think being a good person is undervalued, it makes me happy that good things happen to those who have the courage to be great people.
Forgive me for not talking about coaching during this letter. I felt that this was the best training lesson I could write this week.
“To the teachers.
To those who are not afraid to fail, to search, to get lost, to dream, to leave the comfort, to be themselves, to find.
To those who are not afraid to live.”
Martí Cañellas | Fosbury Flop
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