Over the weekend I watched again a documentary about Sissinghurst, the garden created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson in Kent, England.
Their grandson, Adam Nicolson, was interviewed in the program. In a delightful turn of phrase he observed that the plaque Harold Nicolson placed at Sissinghurst to commemorate Vita Sackville-West’s life was an act of delicate elegance.
Adam made the very strong point that the epitaph “Here lived Vita Sackville-West who made this garden” did not acknowledge Harold’s role in the design and upkeep of the garden. Harold’s modesty, Adam suggested was an act devotion, an act of delicate elegance.
This phrase encouraged me to think about the role coaches play in supporting athletes. I wondered if a characteristic of a sensitive coach is the ability to exhibit delicate elegance. I wondered too if the opportunities sport gives for mutual recognition provides moments when delicacy and elegance are the ‘natural’ choice.