“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle

Aristotle said 2000 years ago what I am thinking today.

Paul Yang and Jer Thao

Excellence is reached by a daily pursuit of mastery. In order to be on top, you have to set aside unimportant things (like work and family) and concentrate on your goal. Rain or shine you need to practice even when you really don’t want to because excellence is a demanding mistress.

“What good is it to look like Tarzan and play like Jane?”John Welborn

This is a question I have often asked myself. Being good looking is not good enough. In order to win pétanque games/tournaments, you need to practice, practice, and practice.

I am what you might call a journeyman player, fairly reliable but not outstanding. I play once or twice a week, mainly for the pleasure of meeting my mates and shooting the breeze.

This mild regimen, of course, cannot compare with the pétanque devotees who have a single-minded commitment to the game and travel far and wide to satiate their passion.

And you cannot win any competition without any thorough preparation.

This does mean that I am not competitive; like anybody else, I like to win and flaunt my medals, but I started playing this game past my prime and it is hard to catch up with the whippersnappers.

So, I live vicariously through my favorites players. They are my preferred players because they are good and down to earth. Being proficient does not necessarily include being nice, and some skillful players have a tendency to err on the side of hubris.

In soccer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic stands out as one of the most arrogant players in the world. He famously said,  “A World Cup without me isn’t worth watching.” 

I hope that I will never hear “A tournament without me isn’t worth watching”in our fields.

No matter how good you are, don’t get “zlatanized”; humility is an asset, not a weakness, and less is always more.


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