Thursday, 10 November 2016

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus

Comping isn’t a sexy hobby. There - I’ve said it. Sega isn’t making a videogame franchise for compers; Her Majesty won’t be knighting anyone for being really good at it; and the odds of the BBC replacing the Great British Bake Off with Extreme Comping UK are so long as to be nonsensical.

Few civilians will salute your dedication to your art. Some will even sniff at it.

I did a quick straw poll of my Facebook friends to gauge their opinions on the matter. I got two responses: a positive comment from a fellow comper, and a like - from my mum.

Based on that convenience sample then, I’m assuming at best that my friends have the same interest in comping as they do in the shoe size of my neighbour’s plumber; or at worst, are so cheesed off with Facebook incessantly interrupting them with the tedious minutiae of my comping activities that they’ve muted me already.

A lack of enthusiasm I can live with. More disheartening, however, are the stories I hear about people laughing at compers - ‘you're wasting your time with competitions - no one ever wins them!’

Notwithstanding the fact that belittling people for enjoying themselves is a pretty pathetic form of bullying, the suggestion is plainly fallacious, as a brief review of the facts will testify: pull out your phone, pull up your spreadsheet and smile sweetly. If you feel it necessary, then by all means draw attention to your most recent wins (or your most impressive, if you feel that would be the better response) - the important thing to remember here is that it doesn’t matter if you win big or you win small: either way, you’re a winner.

And it’s not just prizes that make a winner - it’s attitude too. What’s the one thing that repeat winners share? Determination. Whether you call it perseverance or plain stubbornness, no one gets through the first couple of months without it. I can't begin to imagine how many thousands of competitions I’ve failed to win. Such trivia I shrug off with the day’s dandruff (at least, I would if I had hair). If I can handle a quiet week, I can certainly dismiss a doubting Thomas.

‘You’re just lucky - I never win anything.’

I tell you what … I’ll see your old chestnut and raise you another, because the harder I work, the luckier I get.

To be sure, there’ll never be Olympic medals for comping. But if there's one thing this hobby has in common with the innumerable sporting disciplines out there, it's that if you want to win, you’ve got to train the right muscles - in this case, your luck muscles.

(At this point, I should stress that if you’re after a luck coach, I’m not your man - not because I’m prohibited from sharing such arcane knowledge by some shady guild of freemason compers, but rather that I’d be selling you short. Anyone who wants to be more lucky should start by reading Di Coke’s Superlucky Secrets - and then reading it again!)

It has been said that jealousy can play a part in some folks’ attitudes. But, as my old man used to say, never attribute to malice that which can be put down to ignorance. It’s amazing how many mockers and gloom-mongers button up once they’re on the end of a larger birthday gift or an extraordinary little treat.

To paraphrase Gershwin: keep the laughers busy - that’s how people are.

After all - you’re the winner, aren’t you? Who's got the last laugh now?

Have you ever been on the receiving end of negative comments because of your comping? What’s your approach to dealing with negativity?

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