Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eyes on the prize

NYeDC is back in competition this year. The dreaded S'pore Youth Festival (Drama) has spun another revolution and it's our cue that's been called. The pressure's on and there are forces behind the scenes that remind us that there needs to be an achievement goal to attain or better otherwise we shouldn't have bothered trying at all. Failing to meet our expectations assumes that the human/financial/time resources would have gotten a better return if it had been invested elsewhere. Or in short, just FAIL.

Here's a dilemma that we tend to get ourselves into. When kids join a CCA, is it for their own enrichment and exposure, or is it for the development and training of their talents? The choir is currently holding auditions because it wants the most musically inclined kids to make up its numbers. Sports groups have trials to select the best talents to represent the college. There's always a prize to be won, and everyone wants the best possible chance to win it. The prize, or how close a CCA gets to it is the justification for the existence that CCA. Life is cold, hard and practical. No return, no investment.

Lament all you want, that's the way it is. CCAs are serious business.

Which is why I'm so glad to have caught tonight's episode of "Glee" on Star World. All this negative thinking has been weighing me down lately, and even though it's a TV show it was refreshing to look at my situation from different perspective. Glee follows the misadventures of a talented but dysfunctional high school choir as it prepares for the National Championship. The budget to keep the club running, the aspirations of the Glee club members, the passion of the teacher fighting to keep the club alive are all on the line -- they've bet the farm on the Nationals. It's not an unfamiliar situation to us CCA I/Cs.

But "Glee" recognizes one thing that I may have forgotten in my funk. Kids join a CCA to become good at something. That's what the CCA offers them: the training, the advice, the encouragement, the exposure, and ultimately, the benchmark by which they can measure in concrete terms how good they have gotten, and how far they still have to keep going if they really want to make use of their talents in the future.

We may not like working towards the prize. We may not like working under the pressure. But without either the prize to aim at, and without the pressure to keep the engines running, there wouldn't be any point to working at all.

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