Wow, the Olympics is here! For us Brits, it’s a really big deal. Like millions of people, I tuned in for the opening event a couple of nights back, which just happened to be the womens’ football, or soccer for our US friends. (In case it ever comes up in a pub quiz in the future and you missed it, it was Team GB vs New Zealand, 1-0. You can thank me later for that.)
It got me thinking of the first time I ever played football, which wasn’t until the age of 24. Sure I’d kicked a ball around, yet I’d never, ever played in a real competitive game. But a friend putting a Wednesday night team together finally persuaded me to have a go and showed me the ropes.
If you want to understand something, do it
Why did I leave it so long to play our English national game? Mainly because I always felt I was rubbish at sport. I’d been the kid who never got picked for sports teams at school, and despite kind-of enjoying watching football, I’d been too scared to give it a go. But wow, what a difference having played a game! Sure I wasn’t very good, but next time I watched my team, Manchester United, on TV, it was like watching a new game.
I understood about positioning, and marking, and the skill in weighting passes. I understood what was important in the game, and what wasn’t. Suddenly it all really made sense to me. It’s what happens when you do something, rather than just watching others doing it, or dreaming about it. I played every week for many years after that.
Guidebooks make more sense once you’ve been somewhere…
Here’s another example of how actually doing something you really want to do can completely change things.
I live in southern Spain, and there’s a town a couple of hours away called Cádiz. Off the tourist trail, it’s a walled city out at sea, at the end of a long spit of land, and its residents say they feel the sea is more their neighbour than the rest of Spain (it also has strong links to Cuba, another place I’ve visited and which left a huge impression on me).
So Cádiz has always appealed to me, and I’d read about it again and again in guidebooks (we’re not from Spain, so any visit to a new place feels really like exploring to us).
A couple of years into my long-distance love affair with the place, I wanted to attain a teaching qualification, and found that you could do it on an intensive residential course – in Cadiz! I jumped at the chance, and ended up spending a month there.
Wow, what a difference it made actually visiting the place, rather than just reading about it! To smell the sea air I’d imagined, to walk and get lost on its faded-glory streets, to hear its accents and chat to the locals, to be sat in a bar late at night when a James Bond film with a scene that had been filmed right there in Cádiz happened to be on TV… I felt like everything I’d read about the place finally made sense to me.
Have you ever looked at a travel book before and then again after visiting a place, and felt how much more you got from the book looking at it after visiting? Then you’ll know exactly what I mean.
This site will help you a lot more once you’ve played your first gig
So here’s the thing (yeah, there is a point to this post). The Digital DJ Tips reader survey that nearly 3,000 of you took part in at the start of 2012 highlighted this website’s biggest challenge: 65% of readers are still strictly bedroom DJs. Yup, two-thirds of you have never played a DJ gig in public! And I want to change that more than anything. I want us to all be talking on this site as DJs who’ve done it, not DJs who are dreaming about it.
Of course, not everyone wants to. I get that. Some people like reading travel books, but aren’t interested in actually visiting the places. Some folk are armchair sports fans, but have never done any sport themselves, and never intend to. And likewise, I accept that some DJs are happy knowing all about it, but never getting out of their rooms and actually doing it. You know, in public, for real.
But I’ll wager they’re the minority. And knowing only too well myself what it’s like to finally do things you should have done earlier, knowing as I do now how much more you understand things that you have real experience of, and also knowing how believing you’re no good at something can stop you trying it for years, I’ve got one message for you today.
Just like those thousands of athletes from all over the world who will be performing in front of crowds at the Olympic Games over the next two weeks, and just like me taking my first faltering steps onto a five-a-side football pitch having convinced myself it was beyond me, and just like people who finally visit places they’ve dreamed about all their lives, my message is simply this:
If you haven’t played a DJ set in public yet, stop making excuses. You’re good enough. Now is the time. Just do it!
PS Enjoy the Olympics wherever you are in the world. Good luck to your teams.
Can you recall something you’ve finally done that you wished you hadn’t put off for so long? Will you be proudly watching your country compete in the Olympics? Will you go out and try and get a DJ gig without any further delay? Please share your stories below – and enjoy the Olympics wherever you are in the world. Good luck for your teams!