Originally posted Saturday 15 May 2010
Sometime today a 16 year old (soon to be 17) girl will sail into Sydney Harbor and become the poster child for Australian ambition.
"Our " Jessica will have broken the record for youngest person who has sailed non stop around the world, as all of our papers will trumpet. Last week we doubted, today we celebrate but tomorrow some will return to doubt, especially the media outlets who haven't had their deals accepted. We like to poke holes, it keeps people from getting ahead of themselves
Firstly though, hooray for Jessica. This girl has gone through nearly a year of her life not being talked to, in isolation, no one understanding what she is going through. Arguably all teenagers feel they go through this but not many smell of salt and battle constant seas sickness while doing so.
and hooray for all of us for believing in her when she announced her ambition, cause that us, we Australians, we believe people and love ambition. We love the visionary, the daring and the bold. We look at them and think "hooray we support you and believe you will do this great thing. Go you
of course we do.....hooray?
If it was up to Australia and the 'Australian spirit' we wouldn't have landed on the moon, built the great wall or had any one explore anything much. "You are going off exploring new frontiers? Breaking new ground? Bit up yourself aren't you?"
Now of course some of our doubts about Jessica ( lets call her Jess its more marketable) was that she was a young girl doing a scary thing and shouldn't her Mother know better and there was the thought that it would cost the tax payers money to go rescue her when she inevitably came to grief. There would be definitely some new editors disappointed that that package they had ready just in case' will never be used. Fair calls but was it the cost and the obvious lack of maternal instinct? or the fact someone announced they were going to do something truly beyond our understanding, sail around the world, or was it the fact they announced their ambition?
Australians just don't like ambition. "Bit up yourself aren't you?" If you are going to be a great Australian go and do it silently and tell us after you have achieved (go to www.australianachievements/FAQ to see the achievements we will recognise. Obviously reality TV and sport figure prominently. The science and humanities pages of the website will be up shortly) We will happily, and eagerly, jump on board the bandwagon at this point but do be prepared, the bandwagon will only last for a short while unless you seem like someone we could hang out with, and you are not up yourself. We love a good bloke or a down to earth chick.
But back to our Jess, "our" Pink Lady (c), welcome home. You will have quite the month of celebrations and celebrity. Be prepared to meet politicians (our premier is the one with the practical haircut) , famous Australians, pasty sailors (expect to meet the still alive team of Australia2 from something called the Americas Cup. Wikipedia it) and of course you will meet some B listers trying to stay in the public eye.
Hooray for success.
You will also make a little money, which is good. One piece of advice, be more selective with choosing what to talk about and support and not so Goodram in your choices.
and be assured if it is all too overwhelming it will fade away, a few months and it will get quiet. There will be footage of you at the New Years Eve package, you'll get a quiet little Wikipedia section and a few appearances here and there and then...well life goes on as 'normal'.
Except maybe for young 15 year old Hailey from Gladesville who is by the harbor today enjoying the celebration and thinks to herself. "I can do something. Something big. Something extraordinary" Hooray for her