I’m not certain that non-Nigerians have the same definition for ‘local champion’ as we do, so I will attempt to define it.
- I did it!
A local champion, is an individual that is viewed as popular, remarkable and world-class within a relatively small area and who sincerely agrees with the prevailing sentiments. It is not enough to be renowned in your community. You must also believe that you are not far from the best the world has to offer, yet be merely mediocre. A local champion’s territory can cover a province, a state, or even an entire country at times. What doesn’t change is the ease with which outsiders’ achievements diminish the local champion’s supposed heroics.
There are different paths to becoming a LC (local champion) and I will outline what is in my opinion, a plausible and painful one.
The individual actually possesses some talent or form of ability
In the immediate vicinity, this individual’s gifts are a bit distinguishing. Something special, and delighting appears to lie within this person. It, is also raw and unrefined.
The individual finds success and approval without full exertion
The feeling of having done one’s absolute best, is not one the individual is personally familiar with. Giving a little attention, a little thought, a small effort culminates in outsized success. The individual experiences genuine shock when glowing commendations and shiny accolades are offered, for what wasn’t ‘a big deal’ at all. It is theoretically possible that an individual is so talented and rare that any existing task in a chosen field of work, at the individual’s level will not require full effort, but I think it is doubtful in reality.
The individual is generally bored
If learning music, his tutor is easy to satisfy. If in school, she is disappointed that education is no where as enriching or intellectually demanding as she expected it to be. It is mostly too easy, too petty, too trivial to get overly excited about. The individual, is not bored because she dislikes education. On the contrary, she is likely to love knowledge but suspect that she is not getting enough of it.
The individual tries to find new challenges – and fails
A student trying to take non-required advanced courses, an athlete volunteering for more intense training, an employee willfully seeking additional meaningful responsibility. At this stage, ‘More! I can take more’ is what the person says and the stock responses are along the lines of “You’re doing so well already, why bother?” and “We don’t have any provision for that. Relax”.
The individual accepts popular opinion
Against personal judgement, the individual decides to take things slow. This is the point at which the journey to LC status really starts. Patience is often key in life. Patience isn’t the problem. That said, if an individual is being encouraged to consistently wait, for years before encountering suitable opportunities or enjoyable challenges, something might be wrong. The world has a near infinite number of problems, why should any individual willing to confront a few have to wait infinitely?
The individual intuitively perceives that there is a next level, a higher state, despite counsel and advice to the contrary. She sees it in her mind, she feels it with her heart. She knows there has to be, but as she might not be able see literally through her eyes or reach out and seize it with her hands, she gives up the search for “what does not exist”.
She becomes content in the knowledge that right now, what is she doing, is pretty much the best that can be hoped for.
This is how a local champion is made.
Around the same time, in another part of world, another individual with equivalent talent is being pushed to his limits, he has amazing capacity and it is being filled on a constant basis. All things being equal and fair, if his ability is sufficient, he could one day be an authentic ‘star’.
If people with equal latent ability are compared, the one who is encouraged to work harder by broader opportunities generally wins over the long term.
Do you ever want to look on the life of another person and realize your own potential was squandered?