Lockdown’s biggest sporting lesson? That imperfection is valuable too | Emma John

As Ben Stokes has shown, recognising perfection is impossible and not worrying about failure can be key to great success

In Ford v Ferrari – the Oscar-nominated film that tells the story of Le Mans 1966 – there’s a memorable scene where driver Ken Miles looks out over a racing circuit at dusk. “Out there is the perfect lap,” Miles tells his young son. “No mistakes, every gear change, every corner, perfect. Can you see it?” “I think so,” his son replies. “Most people can’t,” says Miles.

During this sporting hiatus I’ve been pondering perfection, and the discipline it takes to achieve it, born of the sense that everyone around the world is using their Covid-enforced break more productively than me. I picture writers hunched over laptops, artists at easels, chefs in kitchens, all finalising the masterpieces that will enrich our worlds on their return. Meanwhile in backyards and garages, ranks of mini-Messis and Serenas and Steve Smiths clock up their 10,000 hours, while I perfect the length of my afternoon nap.

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