I wrote this short little piece in around a half-an-hour after a late night class a few weeks ago. Thought I’d post it here for anyone to read and maybe motivate or inspire. If you have any questions or comments or anything really just leave a comment and I’ll do what I can. I should note that I didn’t really proofread it or go over it too much so it may not make a lot of sense or have some odd sentences/English so bear with me.
“Passing through the hallways I watched their faces, each a deep skin-coloured porthole, sliding by each with a slight bob of vertical movement. And as I moved farther along, the waves of portholes continued. One after the other, an infinitely repeated marquee. Even the slight bobs repeated over and over with minute differences in timing, keeping steady to the rhythms of some sort of natural movement. Only the walls behind their porthole faces changed, first from the rough edges of greyed-out brick to the sharp extensions of dark metallic siding and then returning to more greyed-out brick and onto new colours of plastic and metal. Intermittently each wall was broken by a short quadrangular pane of glass. The smoothed surface owning a dual-purpose, letting the outside world permeate in and reflecting back the images of the inside.
Stopping for a moment, my mind wandered off in the direction of one of these large window-mirrors. Looking straight into the glass I could see the waves of portholes that passed me by. Yet myself, my own body, standing still was not moved by the current of these waves. I was merely the spectator to the sea, a buoy, chained at my feet.
It was then that I realized what made them all seem so alike. Their portholes, these faces all bore the same underlying emotion. One smile, tight and sharp. Eyebrows raised, bridging the forehead with a dark line. Eyes, intentful and lofty and bright. Each and every porthole, the same.
In between each pair of eyes lay the same emotion, deep beneath the surface of that porthole. It was happiness. It was contentment with life. It was the belief that what they had right at this moment was good enough for them. Not that they would not pursue greater, but that they had enough to sustain them for the time being. Whatever it was, they had it and they knew it.
Though maybe happiness isn’t for us all. Maybe we were not all intended to receive that present. At least for myself, I knew I wasn’t there. What I would’ve given to be among these waves, to flow with them and to be taken away by the same current that controlled their lives. Instead I was that lone buoy, chained in place. A spectator to the masses.”
So yesterday was a fun and exciting day for myself, a big change from my normal routine. I was invited to help arbitrate a local scholastic chess tournament at a nearby elementary school. This was offered to myself and a good friend of mine since we both are members of the Brock University Chess Club and both of us had worked with some of the kids in previous programs offered by Chess Nation.
So there we were in a elementary school gym with approximately 155 kids ranging from grades 3 to 8 along with parents and teachers. Our job was to basically answer any questions from the students/kids and to ensure the games moved smoothly. It was definitely fun but quite exhausting, especially when similar questions and issues came up over and over again. In particular, it seems a decent number of the younger students (think grades 3 – 5) were having trouble using the en passant rule whereby the pawn-take-pawn rules change slightly. Many were confused about when it can occur and others believed it could be done against other pieces, ie a bishop or a knight. Frankly, I don’t even use the en passant rule much at all when I play so I think maybe these kids need to slow down and not worry about such a move just yet but whatever. The other top question was asking me whether a certain position was indeed checkmate, stalemate, or not at all. As an arbiter, I’m not really allowed to tell you whether some position is a checkmate or not so I had to try and force the kids to think about it and make a logical decision themselves. There was one moment where a parent somehow got around to their child’s board (the parents were supposed to stay off to the sides) and suggested that some position was not a checkmate as had been decided on by the two students playing. Obviously in those circumstances I have to just explain that if the two players agree to checkmate or stalemate or a draw even if it wasn’t exactly such, the agreement stands. This was a scholastic tournaments so there was no ratings or even recording of the moves played (that would have been Hell!) so it’s really on the more leisure side of things and just for fun.
Regardless, I made it through the exhausting 5 rounds and all the noise and rush of youths running around and yelling and screaming. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad though so I enjoyed my several hours (9am – 2pm) and even got a free lunch out of it, woo! What I did enjoy the most was watching the grade 8’s play. The grade 8’s, although not massively skilled at chess, were playing a lot more sophisticated when compared with the lower grades (as to be expected). I was able to talk with several of them and watched as one of them who I actually taught chess last year, play some excellent games for their level. The dude I taught last year even got second place, which I thought was awesome as he went 4/5 that day, only losing his final game. It got me thinking about how I wish I had these sorts of opportunities when I was younger. Due to constraints at the time, I never was able to do after-school sports or activities like so many others had. Although it didn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time, I think it did kind of hurt my social life. But hey, too late to worry about it now, just gotta work with what I have. I also mainly wish I played more chess and was more serious about chess when I was younger, I might have grown to be a much better player than I am currently. Again, oh well nothing I can do about it now.
Anyways, that’s my post for the day (meant to be posted on Saturday but here I am in the wee hours of Sunday morning finishing it up lol). I’ll probably post more stuff soon, just gotta get around to it.
It’s never easy to go through a personal struggle, especially when you do it alone. Within the past month I’ve gone from great to good to terrible to decent to terrible (again!) and then back to decent. I’ve seen a very dark corner of my life and had some wretched days that I hope to never return to again. As of right this moment, I’m doing alright but I know it can change at any time.
Probably the hardest and most frustrating part about going through adversity alone is the fact that you are fighting yourself at every corner. Every single decision, every single thought and feeling is against yourself. You try and figure things out, analyze things, explain the reasons for events and actions but you have no second objective entity to bounce ideas off of, all you got is yourself. And being you, you almost always come to the same conclusions quickly. And before you know it you’ve just reassured everything you first proposed, only throwing out the truly insane ideas (or maybe not?).
Instead of returning down that path (I’ve done it before and it is not pretty) I’ve decided to ignore searching for “real” answers and just take what I’ve been given as the answer. Though not always applicable to all personal struggles, mine in particular should be easier this way. To be honest, I cringed right there when I typed out “easier”, because frankly it’s not easier. A better word for it might be salvageable, or carry-able? Regardless, I basically mean that in not trying to analyze too far and to go out and get that answer that I need to move on. Instead I’m taking what I’ve been given and working with that and using it as the answer to move on and to try to clean up the mess that has been made.
Anyways, I’ll be making more posts more frequently on a variety of stuff and I’ll be updating the blog itself so hopefully everything goes to plan this time (:
*Cough* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InHtHX3l-sQ *Cough*