over the (button) moon

19 10 2009

Jenson Button may seem like an unlikely poster-boy in the quest for wisdom. Up until this season, it might have seemed like he was only the poster-boy for being an also-ran, making up the numbers, living the playboy lifestyle, but being all women and no winning. Many over the seasons have talked about his perseverance, his determination – but perseverance and determination only really begins to look worth it if you actually end up persevering and winning, getting there. Nobody makes a hero out of someone who perseveres and doesn’t make it.

subtle and understated as always

subtle and understated as always

But Jenson Button has done it. He has stuck it out – ok, he has been handsomely paid for sticking it out, but nevertheless he still did – and finally the driver, team and car have come together. He was patient, he was committed, he was passionate about racing. He stuck it out when everything went wrong for him, whether by his own making or things out of his control. Then Ross Brawn, an unlikely fairy godmother, whisked the over-looked Cinderella to the ball, and the phoenix rose from the ashes and the metaphors became so mixed even Formula 1 got exciting.

My guess is that disappointment is a fact of life for all of us. Feeling like an also-ran is a fact of life for all of us. Feeling over-looked is a fact of life for all of us. And the reality is that the vast majority of us will not feel like we will ever win a cheesecake let alone the championship. And maybe we won’t. But maybe Jenson is right on the button in reminding us of something. That those who feel like the last will be the first. That patience and perseverance will be rewarded. That sometimes just sticking it out is the right thing to do. Critics may say it is not worth it, statistics may point to a losing battle. It may feel like the ones of the podium get all the attention. But on Sunday, who was interested in those on the podium? Nobody. Sorry Mark, Sebastien, Lewis.

A wise man once turned the tables on the dog-eat-dog competitive survival-of-the-fittest human instinct. The first will be last, and the last (or at least the 5th) will be first. The also-rans will be winners, the over-looked will be noticed. The prize will be now and forever, not just for now. And I don’t know about you, but that leaves me over the (button) moon.

a classic from the old days

a classic from the old days

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