I had a response from one of the loyal army of blog-reading anonymice to last night's blog that I thought needed a blog entry of its own in reply. It said:
found your latest blog very sad, how can you be so down beat and cenacle about Memory Sports and their applications. Especially within schools, how can it be a bad thing to give kids a way to shine - to say look what I can do (an important part of any human beings development). The jocks get their sports day, the show offs get their shows. The artists get their exhibitions, musicians get their time in the spot light.
It saddens me that you are at the top of the tree - you are the No 1 and hold the top spot - yet you use your platform to make jokes at the expense of others to poo poo the efforts of people who would like to make a positive impact on the lives of young people, not only that but the school bully who everyone remembers from their days at school now has a different way of pulling his punches a new secret weapon of firing bullets from behind a computer screen.
What? That’s the complete opposite of what I said! I said I want to get MORE young people competing in memory sports – especially in the schools – and I want memory competitions to be ENTIRELY about giving talented memorisers a way to say look what I can do and win the applause of their peers!
I want to expand the scope of memory competitions so that they’re well known and popular around the world, and while the people currently organising the schools memory competitions are doing a great job, you kids aren’t going to shine as much as you could while the general perception of memory competitions is still that they’re part of a learning technique.
Imagine if every art exhibition was accompanied by lengthy explanations of how it’s important to teach kids to develop their artistic skills, because it develops key areas of their brain, and makes them more effective learners, improves their social awareness and cognitive ability and increases their chances of academic success. You do see that kind of thing, but it’s always in a footnote that nobody reads while they’re just appreciating the artwork for its own merits.
With memory competitions, especially the schools championships, the competition result is often the footnote and the lecture about memory techniques is the main event. All I’m saying is that memory competitions will be more appreciated if we can change the way people think about it – I want to see memory competitions as an extracurricular activity like sports days, shows, exhibitions and recitals, not as a learning aid. THEN you’ll get all the applause and appreciation you really deserve!
Really, I thought my blog last night was one of the most upbeat and non-cynical things I’ve ever said about memory sports! I made a real effort to keep the self-deprecation to a minimum, and it alarms me that someone could misunderstand me to such an extent. I hope this has cleared a few things up, but please do comment again if there’s anything you’re unsure about!