You can do anything!

I remember listening to a headteacher in an assembly once saying to the children to take every opportunity they possible can as the grow up, since these opportunities are like doors and as you get older they close. I know I am never going to be a gymnast now or even a concert pianist (sorry mum) but is it possible to actually learn how to do something, or do you need to have some sort of natural talent in the subject first.

There has recently been a wealth of programmes on the television which puts the people through a series of challenges with winners progressing and losers falling by the wayside. The Great British Bake Off and Sewing Bee to mention just two. One of the ones that I caught the end of the other week was ‘The Great British Paint off!’ I’m not sure if it was actually called that, but I remember thinking whether it would be possible to learn to paint? For me I think in order to be good at any creative skill you need to have some sort of natural talent there to start of with. If someone could teach people to be great artists, wouldn’t we all be fantastic artists and making a fortune from blank canvases with a milk bottle top stuck in the middle. (if you don’t know what a milk bottle top is – ask your mum!)

When it comes to sport, however, this might not be the case. Although you might still need some sort of talent to be representing Great Britain in the next Olympics, apparently with hard work and regular practice you can become rather good at a sport. How do I know this? Well I am referring to an article that recently appeared on the BBC website ‘Can you win at anything if you practise hard enough?’

I am aware that this was published on the 1st April and also that the actual experiment was not the greatest of successes, but there was some improvement in the player who practised every day in his dining room. It might be that practice will make you perfect at anything, as long as there is some talent or ability there to start of with. Maybe it is really down to a sense of self belief? Believing that you can get better might actually mean you persevere and achieve something. I do feel that I, as well as many other people, give up quite easily. If I really want to achieve something that I will last for longer, but often the moment something goes wrong or there is little or no improvement that’s it, I hang up my gloves and settle down to watch the tele. I think that often we might want improvements quicker or sometimes instantly. Attending the gym at least three times a week I was hoping for some physical improvements and, although I must be improving somewhere, I keep having to push myself to go since that adonis body is, as yet, eluding me.

I suppose one aspect of the story that I was impressed by was the dedication to make the video (if it was real) and the commitment to practise everyday! If we could all reach an epic standard through practice alone, then you can guarantee that I will be stopping this blogging lark pretty soon since there is definitely more money in being a pro footballer! Now where did I leave my boots!

2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

  1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

  2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

    I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
    I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
    I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
    I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
    For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
    I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
    For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
    For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

    I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

    The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
    I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

    Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
    Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
    Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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