April 10, 2013

Competing, Finally

I've waffled a bit recently, but on the whole, I've wanted to participate in some kind of barista competition for a while now. Years? Probably safe to say without hyperbole. I don't suppose I'm the best there is, but I do suppose that, to be as good as you can be, you have to use others to push yourself.

This is the same spirit I find in foot races. I'm not out to crush those who would run with me, merely to do the best I can. Four times, I've won, but those aren't my most satisfying races by any stretch. You know when you've done good things, and that satisfaction matters more than anything else.

That having been said, a contradiction: I really do like to win.

So, now that it seems somewhat official that I will take part in a Lawrence barista competition, it has to be said: I really do want to win the thing. Sure, I want to meet with others who've spent years developing their latte art, swapping "war stories" and other such things. I want to do all of that, really, to smile and laugh and exchange meaningful words.

But then, I do want to win. I want to stand and smile and say "Yes, I won. I am better than you, and this was all a formality, a mere coronation that could never have ended another way." I want them to ask me how I make the milk dance like that, how I coaxed such silky foam out of my pitcher, how I'm capable of such divine work.

Contradictory, yes, and thus human. I do have my hubris, and perhaps, in the grand literary tradition, I'll be duly humbled. We'll see in one month's time.

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