Captain of the Darts Team
I don’t know about you, but I am not really a team player. I have tried to be, more than several times, but it has never really worked out in the long, or even the medium term. Perhaps it stems from being the eldest child: you are alone in your childhood until the second child is born and then you are roped in on the parents’ side to help look after it or keep it amused. I, as the eldest, always felt as if I were a mini-parent, never a child and that feeling only grew stronger as our family grew to five children – all boys.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I didn’t have a great youth, it’s just that only onlookers would have called it a childhood, not me.
Anyway, I don’t want to labour that point, because I’m not complaining, not at all.
When I grew old enough to go to pubs, I did, although I don’t think it was for the same reason my father gave me for his doing it. He told me: “One day, when you have had a hard day at work, and five active kids to come home to with a bathroom full of nappies soaking in buckets, you will know why I need a few pints on the way home”.
He was full of sage advice my Dad, although the day he spoke of never came for me.
Back to the pubs. One of the first things you did back then was join the darts team. I was about average for a team player, but OK by general standards. One night, I fell out with one of our team and the captain of the darts team told me off. I was furious, because I had been right, but the other guy had been there a lot longer.
Later that night, I discussed the matter with my Dad and he said: “How old is the man, forty-fifty? I thought so, or older. Being the captain of the darts team could be the highest position he has ever held, or is likely to hold, in his whole life. It could have been a goal of his, and now he has achieved it.
“His world is small, and he cannot see much further than being the captain of the darts team, whereas you know there is more to life and can achieve much more. Don’t be selfish, don’t argue with him. Allow him his petty pride in his achievement, and either stay to help him, or go your own way. However, whichever way you choose do it amicably and rise above the situation”.
That advice has stuck with me for forty-five years, but I did forget it last night when some jumped up modern equivalent of the captain of the darts team, a Facebook Group Leader or moderator tried to stop a discussion I was involved in.
I hope I will remember the ‘captain of the darts team’ advice, the next time a Captain Mainwaring jobsworth has a go at me just to prove his authority.
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All the best,
Podcast: Captain of the Darts Team