Two underdogs came into their own last night and did it with flamboyance. Lil Whitney, the 22-yr old cutie pie from down south Missisippi won America’s first Masterchef challenge. From the beginning of the show, I’d been dreading her ouster every week, for Whitney, in all fairness, wasn’t the best amateur chef amongst the contestants. But this girl rallied around every time she was down and surprised everyone.
The thing about Whitney is that she has always represented something simple, something unadorned, basic, homely, no-frills…..i could go on and on. You don’t expect to associate ‘success’ with someone like that. Too much TV and too much celebrity worship in our lives and too less time for quiet introspection; too much Botox and too less heart. The world has left behind such people and didn’t even realize when it did.
While the other contestants would make use of the best cold cuts, the most expensive ingredients and the finest Grande Marnier to flavor their entrée, Lil Whitney would deploy her southern style corn cakes and collard greens. What I really admire about this gal is the confidence to stand her ground when everyone around her was doing so much more; it was a quiet confidence coupled with girlish nervousness that made her win my heart. How can you not root for someone like that?
I hadn’t even heard of Kevin O’Brien before yday and it seemed incredible to watch some unknown guy who’s played for the Railway Union to come and smash the mighty Goliath’s confidence. I read later that at one point Ireland were actually 111/5. What does that tell you about life? Fluke rules! I’m not denying that Ireland didn’t deserve the win but the odds of one guy turning the tide is not so much about skill or talent, as it is about ‘luck by chance’.
It is also about two other imp. things: first, the smell of success - the only thing that doesn’t let you down in life. Everything is won if you can exorcise your own demons and emerge victorious. That’s the stuff the greatest stories are made of. In the last 7 overs of the match, you could sense Ireland’s confidence as clearly as you could sense England’s utter helplessness and fatigue.
Second and something that I forget and bypass easily: perseverance is to success as soundbytes are to Rakhi Sawant. Behind Whitney’s astounding win and O’Brien’s powerful knock, there must be oodles of patience and perseverance. To a casual bystander like you or me, that perseverance is not evident and their victory seems almost magical. But I’m as sure of their perseverance as I’m that perseverance alone will not always pay. Tough luck. But you won’t have success without perseverance.
I’ve been a little unwell the past few weeks and couldn’t shake off a feeling of eternal tiredness. Watching TV with D, I could feel the adrenalin rush as first Whitney and later Ireland upset the odds. Pure joy. High 5!
As I was writing the above post, it struck me that at least 3 of this year’s Oscar winners also deal with overcoming great odds – Rabbit Hole, The Fighter, and The King’s Speech. In fact, Black Swan examines the flipside of this obsessive search for perfection and success. Interesting.