I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘confidence’ over the last while ~ really since this bag was given to me and became the bag for my swimming gear.
Every time I look at it, and that’s about ten times a day, I ponder more and more about the relationship between confidence and money.
I would like to believe that confidence has nothing to do with money but I simply can’t and it’s all because of a little boy with immense talent for tennis from a very poor area whom I sort of ‘adopted’ many years ago.
I got to know him when he was about seven. He had beautiful blue eyes and a head of tousled blonde curls. He was waif-like but his hand-eye co-ordination was amazing and he was incredibly speedy around the court.
I knew that he had oodles more ability than the vast majority of kids his age but was also aware that his background was going to militate against him when it came to competing in tournaments.
He came on in leaps and bounds with practice and loved the racket that had once belonged to my brother.
Every time I look at the ‘confidence’ bag, I think of the day I brought him to a tournament in Dublin to give him a run against some of tennis kids of his age.
Before he even got to the court, I could see that he was intimidated by the posh surroundings and the cliques of players who were dressed in great style. He played his little heart out and lost about 6-2 6-3 to a highly ranked player.
The awful part was that no one talked to him or made him feel remotely at home. In fact, he felt so totally uncomfortable and overwhelmed that he said he couldn’t face playing in any more tournaments like that one.
He was one of many highly talented kids I’ve known who fell by the tennis wayside. Perhaps, I was overly innocent in thinking that he could overcome the obstacles and grind his way through, even though was like a fish out of water.
Or perhaps, he was was just too sensitive and wasn’t able to ‘Act as if it were impossible to fail,’ as Dorothea Brande suggests.
I often wonder what became of him and hope against hope that he remembers those childhood tennising years with a sense of happiness and that he learned lessons from them that enabled him to realise his potential in life.
What do YOU think about confidence and its relationship to socio-economic circumstances?