pride (n.) – 1. deep pleasure or satisfaction felt if you or people close to you have done something well. 2. a cause or source of this: the swimming pool is the pride of the village. 3. self-respect: he swallowed his pride and asked for help. 4. an excessively high opinion of yourself. 5. a group of lions.
words are funny things, aren’t they? take the word “pride” listed above. of the five definitions, there are four distinctly different meanings. for this post, i’m interested in the following definitions: deep pleasure or satisfaction felt if you have done something well, and an excessively high opinion of yourself. as majestic as lions are, i’ll have to ignore definition five for now.
given the age we live in, this may be astounding to hear: i think pride is useless.
in my everyday experience, i feel that our society at large is awash with talks of pride: ethnic pride. racial pride. self pride. pride of humankind. pride for an ideology. pride of achievement. useless.
i say this because i feel that pride ultimately leads to arrogance, or narcissism in certain cases. worshipping yourself. not right away, but slowly. (well, faster for some than others.) it’s the acid that erodes your soul. the more pride eats away at you, the more you’ll regard yourself and disregard others. the nasty side effect of pride is attitude. giant chip on your shoulder.
i’m not immune to pride. i think that every time i become offended at something or someone when playing pool, it’s my pride talking. useless.
if i can play pool at all, it’s because of the people that came before me. people that taught me the game. people that mentored me. great players that i got to watch, by sheer serendipity. certain innate abilities that were given to me. it’s no small miracle that i can stroke the cue straight, let alone shoot. i can’t play if i weren’t exposed to all those things. so what right have i to take pride of my game?
instead, play the game for the love of it. play for your loved ones. your friends. for your mentor(s) or coach(es). for those that want to play but can’t, for whatever reason. for your fellow teammates. for the audience that love watching you play. play for anyone/anything but yourself. most of all, be happy that you’re lucky enough to play this game. and be thankful for those that have guided/aided you in learning the game of pool.
a quick side note. you may have heard of teresa strasser, tv personality, writer, and ex-radio talk show host. this post in her blog is some of the most oddly touching things i’ve read lately. check it out if you like.