The Above Average Crisis

If you were following the T20 world cup this year and if you are an Indian I am sure you would be fairly disappointed. For the uninitiated India played 5 matches in the tournament, won 4 and lost 1. The aforementioned 1 lost match cost them their slot in the next round, just to clarify the competitors Australia & Pakistan who progressed to the next round also won 4 matches each so it boiled down to run rate and the margin of defeat. But that is not what this post is about. The point I am trying to make is about the increasing competitiveness in sport, and in all other aspects across the world. When all the teams have won equal number of matches the qualification depends upon statistical factors, when the cut-off marks for admission in the colleges are set at 100%, when the dream companies recruits only from XYZ colleges etc. and a lot of other scenarios which I am sure you would have got the drift. This post is about the ones who missed it with a whisker, people who were almost there, team which lost due to difference of 0.547 in the net run rate, the students who got 98%, the folks who could not clear the waiting list of the coveted XYZ college, “The Above Average”.

It is like when you are running amidst the crowd and find most of them to be behind you except a few. You are giving what it takes to remain ahead, you are playing it fair. But only when you try catch up with few left ahead you realize the playing field is not level, it never was. And suddenly you start to wonder what happened to the “Fair play”.

You desperately want to prove yourself that race you lost with a whisker is irrelevant, you look for opportunities but the world doesn’t allow you one. You want to make up for that split second you lost last time but the world has made it a mile now. You try to think about the loss ends up getting you more frustrated. You try to console yourself of being happy with what you have achieved but deep inside you know it is a just a consolation, just like “The Consolation Prize” which says you weren’t good enough we are generous people and we will give you something.

You wish that if you could turn back the winds of time, get back to that just one moment that made this difference. The moment where you missed by a small whisker, a few moments which can give you a chance to cover that split second distance when it wasn’t too late. The moment when you can succumb to the comfort of the known target and plans. The moment when you can bury the target of being “Above Average” once and for all; crowning in the glory of victory.

But none of it ever happens and you have to wait for the next big race, big match or the critical opportunity. You have to make peace and plan for the next big race in life and hope this time you cross the finish line before anyone does. That is the curse of being “Above Average”.

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8 comments on “The Above Average Crisis”

  1. Shilpa Garg Reply

    It was really sad and disappointing to see the way India was ouster-ed from T20 World Cup, despite a wonderful performance! 🙁
    Now, all we can do is wait for the next opportunity!
    Liked the way you have explained the Law of Above Average! 🙂

    • Prats Reply

      @Shilpa: Hopefully the next opportunity will come very soon for the boys in blue.

  2. Ramesh Reply

    Wonderful evocative post Prats.

    The sheer weight of numbers ensures that billions of people will be average. The “victors” are going to be a microscopic few. And yet the reason we are human is because we believe we can be the ones on the victory stand. Eternal hope can never be doused. Logic says disappointment is the most likely outcome, but if we listened only to logic we wouldn’t be what you are.

    Very nice post.

    • Prats Reply

      @Ramesh: I know what you mean when you talk about the weight of the numbers. But the problem is as a society/country we need to become consistently inclusive of what forms the microscopic few. No denial that the victors will be only few but the opportunities cannot be restricted. The above averages should be given a shot to compete, the glass ceiling must go.

  3. ghanchakkar Reply

    First of all, nice to see you back after a while. 🙂
    Very interesting post seems old prats is back. Liked the way you have defined Above Average and the feeling of it. It happens and always gives a feeling that if given a chance you would like to go back in time and try to rectify those errors to make sure you end up as a winner. I too always think there is always a very thin line between a winner and above average.
    But to be fact there can be only winner. And I believe winners and that however small it is they have something different. 🙂

    • Prats Reply

      @Ghanchakkar: I am not at all undermining the winners, but what I am trying to point out that there are always people who had a slightly bad day at the exams or on the day of Finals. Those people who keep trying to get another shot or another chance and they are just not given the opportunity.

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