Mastering a winning formula

I've just finished watching my 5-year-old competing in sports day. In every single race he's so far behind the rest of the field that he's constructed a strange inner defence mechanism to cope: he's somehow convinced himself that being the last person to finish a race is what makes you a winner.

Based on this formula for success, he was undefeated today. Not that he's hubristic about it though, far from it. He's actually very modest about each win; sweetly pointing out the sticker on his chest which every competitor gets. No bragging, no fist-pumping, no hands in the air, no showboating – nothing. He just ambles about the racetrack, picking up beanbags, dropping them into buckets, craning his head to admire the dappled light and, occasionally, as the rest eagerly race on, he stops still for a few moments, turns to me with a smile, raises two thumbs then carries on at a very unflustered pace.

Afterwards, once he's finished his lap of honour along with his whole cohort of key stage one children, I go and say hello and tell him how proud I am of him. Five races completed, last in all (or first, based on his formula), he's quietly pleased with himself.

I can't help but wonder how many more World Cups England would have won by now if we had a similar approach to our players, if, instead of booing them at the end of a turgid nil-all draw with Algeria, we just clapped them and said "well done, boys".

There would be no performance anxiety, no vitriolic recriminations, nothing. And even if we didn't win, we'd probably be a whole lot happier.

Image © thorpegreenways via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence



Gold-painted Porsche completely eco-friendly

A gold-painted £130,000 Porsche GT3 RS has been declared completely eco-friendly thanks to its zero fuel emissions.

Not quite the same as the standard model, the car, which looks exactly like a Porsche, has swapped the standard twin-turbo 3.6 litre air-cooled flat-6 engine for a pair of pedals and a chain.

Completely pedal-powered, the car took six months to build and £11,000 to make, which is a steal compared with the £130,000 a standard model costs. Extortionate car insurance costs also won't be worry as this model is technically a bike.

The replica was built by 45-year-old Hannes Langeder and is now currently on show in the Lentos Museum of Art in Linz, Austria.

Special features of the pedal car include a rear wing and massive air inlets on the front spoiler to help with the aero dynamics of the car and to provide ventilation for the driver.

Made from a steel-frame with the rest of the body made from plastic tubes, foil and reams of tape, the model weighs just 99.kg but can only reach speeds of about 10mph when peddling hard.

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