This weekend was the Kickoff of the 2016 Highland Games Season. In some ways it probably functions just as the old Games 700 years ago did: coming out from the Winter, seeing friends you have not seen in four to five months, brushing the dust off and trying to throw again.
My game has not wholly failed me - I got two minor PRs, one in Heavy Weight for Distance and one in Heavy Hammer (both of which are super sweet because the heavy events are the most adverse to people with my weight) and came super close to 18' Sheaf above bar, smacking off the bottom of the bar three times (which will be mine next year). Other throws were, for the most part, where they probably needed to be (except for Braemar Stone, which was a heavy nasty 24 lb lumpy mess that had no handle and did not fly so much as waddled through the air). It was a rather satisfactory beginning to the season.
But that was not the important thing.
The thought struck me, as I was standing under the bar for Weight Above Bar preparing to swing the weight, that really Highland Games was no different from Iaijustsu or Weight Lifting: a series of prescribed motions that we repeat over and over, attempt to get them better. Progress is occasionally measured in large bumps but more often in the small forward motions of inches or slightly improved form: the sword held at the correct height, the back that is where it should be on a deadlift, the drop after going down but before up on Weight Above Bar right after the weight becomes weightless (yes, it is a thing).
We are chasing the Unattainable.
We are chasing perfection of form and execution. In a sense, there is never an ending place to where one can be with these things - or almost anything, actually. There is only the continued to work to make one's self adhere closer to the standard, of seeing things become more and more elegant and beautiful and appear as if no effort is expended when in fact the effort has been channeled into perfect motions and movement. We may never reach it, but we are always trying.
My Weight Above Bar only hit 9 feet. My PR is 10 feet. My goal is 12 feet. But that is okay.
I have all season to pursue it.