My cousin encourages her daughters to enter NIFCA* every year in at least one category, now this is something I cannot see my parents ever doing. She says she does it because it will give them exposure and opportunity to showcase themselves and their talents. This made me realise/remember that we often only want to showcase and expose if we’re “good”.
When it comes to the arts and sports this is especially problematic. When you’re only encouraged if you have a natural talent those without natural talent will never get to experience the benefits of participating or even developing their artistic or fitness aptitude. This is not to discount talent in any way- talent is an incredible thing that should be given due respect, but the plurality of us that exists as the “un”talented is also filled with greatness. But being the one to burst the finish line isn’t nearly as important as running the race for most of us
So the next time you hear someone sing and they not quite making it ‘low dem nuh, they’re probably enjoying it. The next time you see someone dance and the moves not quite in keeping in with the rhythm, fight the urge to point and laugh (I’m talking to you friends and family!) you never know, they may be on their way to finally catching the beat. At the next 5K you have, just go and try, not making the top 10 doesn’t mean you’re not good; and not trying (casually walking the course) doesn’t challenge you either.
At the expense of sounding trite:
* National Independence Festival of Cultural Arts- this link is fully unacceptable b/c it no way captures the dynamism that clearly goes into producing an event such as this. Any Bajan can enter is drama/speech, dance, music, literary and culinary arts- you submit they let you know if you make it past the preliminaries and give you pointers for next year/ future performances. After the preliminaries you go on to the semi-finals which are open to the public and judged which then qualifies you for the finals.