It's not a knockout
— 1st June 2017
Imagine a circular platform around three to five metres in radius. It’s raised slightly at the centre so that it slopes downwards towards it’s edge. In the centre, at the peak of this slight slope, a fountain of water bubbles upwards a metre or so into the air and falls back down onto the platform running outwards. The platform is spinning and this spin, plus the water, makes it hard to hold your footing.
You are dressed in a overly large costume. An enormous cartoon animal of some kind and the heavy head piece of this costume wobbles alarmingly above your actual head meaning your centre of gravity feels unusual and wrong. You stare out of a small hole in the centre of the chest of this costume meaning your field of vision is restricted.
You are carrying a bucket and your task is to fill this bucket with water from the centre of the spinning platform and bring it back to the edge.
You step forward and immediately lose your footing. The crowd hoot and cheer as you hit the floor and feel the centrifugal force of the spin rolling you back outwards to the edge.
You pick yourself back up and move. More prepared now, you judge your first step better. This time you get a bit further before the slipperiness and disconcerting movement of the floor conquers you again. You roll back outwards.
The next time you make it further but still in vain. You’re learning slowly each time. Working out a better strategy and a way of distributing your weight better, or moving better, of getting further.
You fall, and roll, and get up and fall and roll again. You’re getting tired but you keep going.
Eventually you make it to the centre. Though determination and through skill but largely, you have to admit, through sheer luck. A stagger here and a slip there combine to actually propel you in the right direction and suddenly you’re there, near enough to gather some water. The crowd cheer (you’d forgotten they were watching) and you plant your feet and feel the bucket filling with water in front of you.
You turn and the bucket swings around in your hand. Unused to this extra weight you lose your balance. Your feet slip from under you, the bucket swings skyward and, as you hit the floor, it pours its contents directly into your viewing hole drenching your face and leaving you coughing and spluttering on the long roll back to the edge of the platform.
You feel dejected, distraught. You feel angry and hurt. Your limbs are aching and you have water mingling with sweat running into your eyes with no hope of wiping it away. You stand on wobbly legs and breathing hard bend forward trying to steady yourself and regain your strength.
As you do this you notice the bucket in your hand. The bottom of bucket is still wet and probably due to nothing more than surface tension a tiny amount of water is sloshing around it’s edge.
You turn and with exaggerated ceremony upend the bucket over the water receptacle. The water dribbles out, a slow and pathetically small amount, but the crowd have noticed and they start to cheer. You raise a costumed fist into the air, then you drop the bucket and raise both. And the cheers become louder and are joined by laughter. Suddenly you feel stronger, braver and you feel hopeful.
It would be great if you could bring full buckets of water safely from the centre and dump them here, and of course that is what you’ll try to do, but the game isn’t set up that way. Often you’ll only bring dribbles. But that’s fine, every tiny bit of water counts. Every bit makes a difference and every effort expended to get it was worth it.
If at the same time as fetching it you can also find the time to acknowledge and laugh at how ridiculous the game is. Well, then that’s all the better.