[I have written previously on this blog about my father’s career as a rower, and therefore on his influence, as an athlete, on me. Here is an extract from the diary he kept at Oxford, during his rowing peak. I’ll publish further extracts over the next few days]
What is the point?
It is given to undergraduates and those of that age in particular, to ask what is the point. Afterwards a middle-aged smugness settles in combined with a feeling of having lost something. This causes such expressions from the old – “how lucky you are to be young.” There we are with our chance all over to do something worth while but 99% of us are destined to stamp on the desire to do something worth while for the sake of marriage and so curing our loneliness or for money or security or fear or something.
Anyhow the result is that we forget that in our youth we used to despise the prospect of the bowler hat, the city train, the Financial Times, the grey-haired wife and sticky children. Perhaps we will consider ourselves wiser then, maybe we will be. But as it is we do not have the courage to be a monk, or the conviction to be a politician. We drift. And we try to convince ourselves that what we are doing is worth while. I suppose that somethings are more obviously not worth while than others. Thus I suppose that a bookie has some difficulty in convincing himself that his job is worth while; but I am sure
that he does convince himself.
Perhaps “worth while” is an illegitimate expression of an outmoded Christian dogma.
If your gods should fail you, beat them.